As if the idea of having to pay child support wasn’t confusing and overwhelming enough, divorcing spouses often find themselves tangled up in legal jargon as they try to unpack what is expected of them. A perfect example is the terms child support arrears and retroactive child support. While they sound similar, they couldn’t be more different and carry with them separate implications.
In today’s blog post, let’s look at the differences between child support arrears and retroactive child support.
A Quick Recap — What Is Child Support?
Child support typically involves regular payments made by one parent to the other parent for the benefit of the child. Typically, these payments are made to the parent who designates the child’s primary residence. These payments are Court-ordered and are designed to provide the basic essentials for the minor child, such as clothing, food, shelter, education, etc.
Child support payments generally continue until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last. However, if the child is physically or mentally disabled, the Court could order the paying parent to continue support indefinitely.
Several factors can impact the calculation during a divorce, such as income level, children of a prior relationship, or the special needs of the children.
However, if your net monthly income is $9,200 or less, the typical breakdown is as follows:
- 1 child – 20% of the monthly net income
- 2 children – 25% of the monthly net income
- 3 children – 30% of the monthly net income
- 4 children – 35% of the monthly net income
- 5 children – 40% of the monthly net income
Child Support Arrears vs. Retroactive Child Support
Child support arrears is a fancy term for when the paying parent falls behind and has unpaid or past-due child support. As you can imagine, child support arrears can add up quickly. And the consequences for not addressing the past-due amount can include everything from wage garnishment to liens on property, losing your driver’s license, and jail time.
That said, not every child support arrears situation is intentional or calls for a judge to enforce your child support order. Many times, the paying parent falls on hard times due to job loss, illness, or injury and struggles to make right on their obligations. Child support arrears can add up for various reasons, including but not limited to the following:
- Payments stop completely
- There are one or more missed payments
- The paying parent is only making partial payments
In a different vein, sometimes retroactive child support also comes into play. Essentially, retroactive refers to past financial responsibility before a support order is made by a Court. These aren’t funds that have been ordered. Instead, there are funds that a parent would have paid if a support order had been in place during a specific time.
A few benefits of retroactive child support include:
- Cover past child expenses
- Fairness related to the child’s upbringing
- Addresses unforeseen expenses
Please call Christman | Daniell for your legal needs today!
Looking for family law services in Collin County, Texas? Christman | Daniell is your premier choice. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the legal landscape, our skilled team is dedicated to helping families navigate complex legal matters. Whether it’s divorce, child custody, or adoption, trust Christman | Daniell to provide compassionate and effective representation for all your family law needs throughout Collin County.