Can I Sue for Back Child Support?

Every parent has an obligation to maintain their child. This obligation exists independent of laws or orders by a court. Therefore, a child has a right to receive support from his/her parent until he or has reached the age where it is no longer required by law. This right that a child has to receive support survives even when there has been a breakdown in the parent’s relationship. A non-custodial parent that is a parent who does not have custody of the child is often required to pay child support. Where a non-custodial parent failed to pay child support or has missed payments then this is called back child support. Back child support can also be called child support arrearages. A court may also award retroactive child support based on the date child support was requested or modification of child support was requested. The issue of retroactive child support is a discretionary feature by the court in some states or it can be mandatory in others.

Where child support is in arrears then the custodial parent or guardian or caregiver has a right to claim for the sum that is in arrears as a permanent order was made by the court. The courts through the policies of the state and federal laws can punish individuals who fail to comply with court orders for child support in a very rigid way. The law stipulates that a person can in be punished in the following ways where he/her has failed to pay child support in arrears:

  • Denial of Passport. If more than $2,500 is owed in back child support then the non-custodial parent is not eligible for a passport.
  • Wage Garnishment- where back child support was claimed then the government can garnish the wages to pay your child support debt.
  • Jail Time- where a party is non-compliant and has not made any arrangement to try to pay back child support then he/she may be incarcerated.
  • Suspension of Licenses- the government can suspend a parent’s licence where he/she fails to pay their child support.
  • Seizure of Tax Refund. The government may seize your tax refund if you owe back child support.
  • Property Seizure. A parent might find his or her property seized to help pay the debt.

The protection given to custodial parents to ensure that an individual comply with the requirements of the court in regards to child support shows that the court is willing and able to award any judgement based on the fact that a non-custodial parent has been delinquent. The court and the government have a strong belief that a child ought to be supported by his/her parents. Punishment in regards to child support in the United States is one of the most stringent in the world.

As previously stated there is also retroactive child support in which the court has the discretion in some states to order. An example of retroactive child support is when a parent makes an application in the court for child support but the court may take weeks or months to give you a date. In most states retroactive child support is not mandatory as the court does not view that the individual has a right since the orders were not formally made. Therefore, when the court addresses the issue of child support they may award retroactive child support. Retroactive child support can be ordered from the date of the child’s birth if the parents were not married as in Illinois. But each state has a limit on how far a court goes to award retroactive child support. Generally, the court does not award retroactive child support unless it is justified. Some of the considerations when awarding child support include:

  • Whether the final hearing on child support was delayed
  • The parent seeking support is in need
  • The non-custodial parent intentionally tried to conceal his finances

A parent or guardian can make a claim to recover all money outstanding that has not been paid by the non-custodial parent. The court has a variety of options to ensure that the parent honors his/her obligation to pay child support such as imprisonment. A parent can also ask the court for retroactive child support for the non-custodial parent to pay child support between the date of filing for child support and the date where a permanent order was given.

About Janique Williams

3 Responses to “Can I Sue for Back Child Support?”

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  1. charisse says:

    I have 3 children 14,17,18 for 9 of these yrs we have lived in ca the father is in new York city we are struggling at this point up till now I just waited to get something for my kids from him or child support and I know hes been working two jobs I quote so how can I get my children child support the ca child support agency has not been helpful at least in new york I got statements please advise me thank you

  2. I have two situations. My first one just happened. The father of my son upon court didn’t show up. All decisions were made that they were going to look into his job and file for support. I left and the next day….When they could have called me back upon him showing up the same day of court to tell me he request for a DNA. Ok, I know he is the father. He knows that. As a victim of domestic violence from him he did this to stall court time. He is already in arrears with our 4 year old daughter $4,785. He don’t pay as he should even with it being setup through his employer. I don’t understand this as of today. I wouldlike back cchild support from our son birth prior to him asking for DNA of what he know is his. I would like back current arrears paid in full also. Can you please help? My next case is my 10 year old son. I asked for court order after my domestic violence with leaving prior kids dad. At this time I was taking but had taken care of him for 8 years with begging help from his dad. He lied to the court by saying he wasn’t working for a financial company and had the company to change his profile somehow when he was the manager. It worked. He is Chief of Deputies and spend no time with his son. Our son will call him leaving messages and he would ignore him as if he don’t exist. In public he would walk the other way. Our son would make a scene by running behind him screaming, Daddy, daddy until he stop. It don’t have to be that way. Acknowledge him as a father. I would like back pay from him and during the time of the support order, he told me he would be apart of his life and get him on weekends. This has not happened. He had at the time of court was to pay $350 biweekly he promised our son while holding him and asked me to accept half of what they was asking him to pay and he promised this child of all he would do. I believed him and get no part of him still in our child life. Can I sue for the half of what should be paid and back pay since I have been taking care of him alone before the support as well as the half of court original order? 843-801-5516

  3. Regina Bell says:

    Hello my name is Regina. I have a question regarding my father not pay child support. I am 19 years of age and was wondering if I can go after him for all the back child support he owes me.

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