Dealing with requests for back child support

When California custodial parents are seeking child support payments, they may want to request retroactive support. They may need to provide evidence that support was not paid and that they attempted to collect it. If the other parent is the child's father, it may also be necessary to prove the father's paternity.

The court may not grant the request. The other parent will have the opportunity to respond, and they may provide receipts showing that they paid support or provided it in other ways, such as by purchasing food and clothing. If there are no receipts, the parent might have records of communication or a witness who can confirm support. Even non-monetary support such as child care might be considered toward support if the parent is unable to contribute financially.

The court will also consider whether the parent is financially able to pay the back support. It is important that both custodial and noncustodial parents keep all records concerning support in case a dispute like this arises.

In addition to child support, a person may owe spousal support if the two were married and there was a significant disparity in income. Spousal support may be limited to a certain time period, such as until the recipient retrains and is able to find a better-paying job. Child support is generally paid until the child is no longer a minor although parents might agree that one or both of them will also contribute to the child's college education or other expenses. Parents might work together to reach a custody agreement that satisfies them. If they are unable to do so, before turning to litigation, they might also consult a mediator who may be able to help them resolve any conflict.

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    Attorneys Paul Gavin and Wayne Dersch are certified as a family law specialists. Learn More