What Does Retroactive Child Support Mean in Pennsylvania?

retroactive child support 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.

Related useful reasource: PA Updated Child Support Guidelines

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.

Related: PA Custody Factors and Custody Types

How Does Back Pay Work for Child Support?

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? Can Child Support Arrears Be Forgiven in Pennsylvania?

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.

Can an Adult Child Get the Child Support Owed by the Non-Custodial Parent?

The right to pursue child support generally belongs to the custodial parent or legal guardian rather than the child. Once a child reaches the age of majority, they typically cannot sue for back child support on their own behalf. However, past-due child support is still owed to the custodial parent after the child turns 18.

If the custodial parent has passed away and there are unpaid child support arrears, the right to pursue those arrears may be transferred to the child or the child’s legal representative, depending on the circumstances and applicable state laws.

Related: Does Child Support Continue Through College?

Do I Need a Family Lawyer to Help with Retroactive Child Support Matters?

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?

  5. Karen E Nath says:

    If the custodial parent dies and the non custodial owes arrears, children over 18, where do those payments go?

  6. Theresa says:

    Three grown children. Their mother now almost 80 bamboozeled by the penna courts, never received a dime from father. Can those adult children all in penna sue father for back support

  7. Nancy Butler says:

    My father has filed retroactive support against my sister. My sister child who is now 26 years old and is currently in prison. My nephew has been in and out of juvenile thru out his entire adolescence years and in and out of prison 3 times during his adulthood. Very troubled individual. My father has filed for retroactive support in the amount of $30,000.00
    I don’t understand how or why because my nephew has spent majority of his life in the courts for his dangerous behavior. My mom spent more time and effort and money for my nephew. She still does now that he is in prison. (my mom and dad are divorced) they divorced maybe 10 years ago.

  8. Viki Jean Bailey says:

    My dad denied me when I was a kid. I was born with a hair lip cleft. My mom went through hell with my deformity. My mom took him for support when I was younger then ten. He had a lawyer My mom didn't. He denied me and I was looking for my step siblings since the age of 18. I found my step brother around the age of 20 something. To find out he my father acknowledged me and he is married as I am old. He retired from a great place . I reached out to buy a vehicle because for the first time in my life I need my father's help. Can I get his ass my blood type is not my mother's and I know for fact he is my father. Can I sue him.

  9. Tiziana M Taormina says:

    My divorce will be final soon. I have represented myself throughout this process. My husband has not paid a dollar in child support since day 1- I had to sell my home or I would have lost it. His child support payment which is documented by the courts says he’s suppose to pay 1600$ a month which was going straight to my mortgage. It how we worked it out in court. He moved in with his girlfriend a block away from myself and my children. He has not followed child court ordered visits. I gave no problems in court. I never kept my kids away from their dad. While I’m waiting to get divorced. My husband publicly even on social media platforms announced he got married to his now girlfriend Cathy Sabasino-Douglas. She uses my last name. My kids were very upset in the beginning. He didn’t tell anyone. And don’t the fact that we’re not divorced yet do wit anything? How can u be married to 2 people. There’s pictures and responses to the lovely couple and congratulations etc. they also own a company together called CNC Demo Llc. Cathy n Chris Demolition. Which he also failed to report as income during our divorce. He lied and said he mad c amount of dollars and the courts pulled his actual financials. Saw he wasn’t reporting accurate amounts. Now I’m reading over these divorce papers ( still not signed or filed ) and it’s saying that they feel he o Lu owes me 4500$ and deducted some 600$ to make me pay half. If I deduct his half from the 5 years of not paying my child support on the property plus it stated ge needed to get. Aight up on the property taxes. And never did that either. So all the bills over the years for instance he stole the gas. Gas company finds out. I get hit with a 6k bill. That remained in the back of the bill. Til settlement where they all got me good. My husband for getting away with 5 years of never paying a penny gets himself a new wife rents a house and bought a home with this girl and her daughter. Has 2 successful businesses God Bless em. And I’m still scratching my head on how I ended up getting screwed.

  10. Nate Cole says:

    Pay support as listed or you will get fucked. The bitches can come back and ask for retro and yes almost 20 years back. That ended any relationship with the loser dependent adult. It costs to finally be free.

  11. Lenora edwards says:

    At what age can the child not receive or get child support from the missing parent. If the child support was filed by the state but never appeared in court can back augment still be filed

  12. Shelly says:

    The plantiff. Ask court not to send arrears form. Sent anyway. Can I have the rears reinstated!

  13. John Anderson says:

    15 years ago I was on child support .I was incarcerated I went to child support court and they let me go.not telling me what the conditions are to pay or not . I just bought a house and now they saying that I owe 41,070 $ I’m in the house moved in now they’re telling that I owe them the amount above

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