What Does Retroactive Child Support Mean in Pennsylvania?

There is often a lot of confusion when it comes to retroactive child support in Pennsylvania and a lot of the time these issues end up in the hands of divorce lawyers or court battles. Some people are either hoping for or are afraid that the retroactive support amount will be dated back to the birth of the child or the date of separation. In some cases, this could be a matter of several years. For example, a mother may not have been with the father or received support of any kind from him for five years, but she cannot expect to receive retroactive support for all of those years.

Under Pennsylvania law, the non-custodial parent does not have a legal obligation to provide any support until there is a court order to do so. Once a court order for child support is enacted, the non-custodial parent is then under the legal obligation to provide financial support on a monthly basis. If the obligation, as deemed by the court, is not met, the non-custodial parent faces many penalties, which include everything from driver’s license suspension to jail time.

When Does Retroactive Support In Pennsylvania Begin?

It does not matter how long the non-custodial parent went without financially providing for the child or children in question. The retroactive support goes back to the date of the application for support. For example, if the custodial parent filed on April 15th for child support and the hearing is not until May 15th, there would be one month of retroactive support. Sometimes, the hearing takes place longer than a month from the application date. Either way, the retroactive support goes back to the date the request for child support was filed with the courts. If you need help, you may want to use the best child support lawyer PA.

How Is The Retroactive Child Support Paid?

Depending on the financial position of the non-custodial parent, the retroactive amount is to either be paid in full immediately or spread out over the course of several months. In many cases, a set amount will be paid each month in addition to the court ordered monthly support order. This is done until the retroactive amount, or arrears, are paid in full. Depending on the amount that is in arrears and the timing of everything, a lump sum payment may be taken from an income tax return in order to bring the ordered amount current.

Can The Retroactive Amount be Waived?

While this is not generally something that the court will bring up for you, there is a chance the retroactive amount can be waived if the two parents come to a mutual agreement. For example, if the non-custodial parent financially provided for the child between the time of the filing of papers to the court and the hearing date, the custodial parent can agree to waive the retroactive amount. Many times, the custodial parent simply wants to do what is fair and does not want to have the other parent start off with arrears when attempts were made to support the child or children during that time.

As you can tell, while there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration when you hope to receive or avoid retroactive support, the law is straightforward. It is important to know where you stand and what you can do in order to protect yourself financially, which ever end of the court order you are on. If you need help with representation, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. By having legal representation by your side, you may feel more comfortable with the entire process. You will also be able to get a clear answer to any further questions or concerns you might have regarding retroactive child support in Pennsylvania.

  1. jcollett says:

    What if you only found out about a change in circumstances that happened long ago and want to go back to the date the new income came in to place? why is retroactive only when you find out there was a change? Ex husband did not disclose the information until now???

  2. Laurie Montgomery says:

    What if you never filed for support and raised that child to 21 and now that person wants to be the father to that adult can you go back for child support being you worked two and three jobs to make sure that child had everything she needed? Just curious…

  3. Marie Alexander says:

    My name is Marie and I live in Canada and I am wondering if I am able to get back payments support for my daughter over age 21. She was forced to not finish her studies, Withdraw from school, Not further any studies. This is NOT a case of me the writer NOT being sure who the Biological father is. I have the person's correct name and the last known address and can include a recent picture of this man. Please I need to have some idea where to start. Is there any such thing as Retroactive Child Support in Pennsylvania?

  4. Kristal N. Williams says:

    Can I go after my biological mother for back child support for me as an adult, plus she has three other children which she's financially supported and not me as a non-custodial parent?

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