What is Retroactive Child Support?

Child support is often one of the most contentious issues for parents who have kids together and are separated. Some parents may not be in their kids’ lives for different reasons, while some fathers may not even be aware that they have kids. Others, however, may not have the financial capacity to give their kids financial support. In some cases, mothers can usually request fathers to pay retroactive or back child support.

Understanding Retroactive Child Support

In standard child support orders, the court orders child support payments to be sent prospectively, meaning that the paying parent’s obligation to pay support will only be triggered after finalizing the child support order. In certain situations, the court may also order the other parent to pay retroactive child support. These are payments that the non-custodial parent must pay to the custodial parent. They are for childcare-associated costs that the custodial parent incurred before the support order took effect.

However, some fathers may not learn that they are parents to a child until several years after the birth of the child. In some cases, unwed fathers are aware that they have a child but don’t give the child financial assistance. In other cases, some fathers just don’t have the means to provide support.

Depending on the specific situation, the mother or custodial parent may legally require the father to declare paternity of their child, which will result in the obligation to pay regular child support payments. The question is whether a father or non-custodial parent is legally obligated to pay retroactive child support.

Is Retroactive Child Support Available in Georgia?

Most states have laws for retroactive child support, but Georgia is not one of them. This means that fathers in Georgia are not legally obligated to pay retroactive child support. While there are a few situations where a mother or custodial parent can seek compensation from the non-custodial parent for childcare expenses, Georgia courts do not usually award custodial parents retroactive child support for childcare expenses during the time that a support order was not in effect.

The court, however, allows a custodial parent to request that the child’s father, after establishing paternity, reimburse them for expenses they paid for childcare. This means that mothers may be able to receive compensation for their childcare-related costs, provided that they have tracked those expenses and have proof to show the court. This also includes bills related to the child’s birth.

Talk to a Skilled Gwinnett County Child Support Attorney Today

Child support laws in Georgia can be difficult to navigate, particularly when the issue of retroactive child support is in question. Whether you are a parent looking to pursue child support from your child’s other parent or contest or modify an existing child support order, the law office of Banks, Stubbs & McFarland can provide you with legal advice.

For any concerns or questions about child support in Georgia, call 770-887-1209 or fill out our online form to arrange a case review with our Gwinnett County child support attorney.