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How is Retroactive Child Support Paid?

Posted on September 4, 2019

The law states that parents are responsible for financially supporting their dependent children. If a couple separates or a marriage breaks down, regardless, child support may need to be paid by the parent who spends less time with the child, or in the case of shared custody situations, by the parent with the greater income. The money is paid to the parent who mainly takes care of the child and helps cover the costs of caring for the dependent; or in the latter case to the parent whose income is lower.

What is retroactive child support?

If a parent does not ask for child support at the time of separation or divorce, they can ask for it later. Retroactive child support is when a judge orders that a parent must pay support immediately, to make up for not paying the proper amount of child support previously.

What are some of the criteria for retroactive child support?

Before deciding to award retroactive child support, the judge will consider the following factors:

  • Does the parent making the child support request have a reason for why they didn’t ask for child support sooner?
  • Has the parent who has been ordered to pay neglected to provide updated income information, refused to provide current financials or lied about their financial situation?
  • What were the child’s circumstances during the time the child support was not being paid?
  • Would ordering retroactive child support cause financial hardship for the parent who needs to pay?

Requesting retroactive child support

If the judge awards the retroactive payments, it’s likely to cover the period after the recipient parent gave notice that he/she was seeking more support. Notification must be provided in written form, requesting updated financial information, increased support and state that a claim has been, or will be, filed.

Awarding retroactive child support

In Ontario, judges usually don’t go back more than three years from the date the child support was requested. Courts also consider the recipient parent’s need, the payor parent’s ability to pay and overall fairness when determining how retrospectively to account for support.

If you need advice with your child support circumstances, Epstein & Associates have family law experts ready to help you navigate the issue. Our team of lawyers can provide the counsel you need based on your budget and goals.

Contact us today at 1-866-503-0906.


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