If you have active child support orders and the noncustodial parent has not made their court-ordered support payments for a while, or if you have had expenses caring for your child while your divorce was pending, the court may order the noncustodial parent to pay retroactive child support. Our attorneys explain how back payments of child support work in Texas and your options for recovering unpaid support payments.
Can Texas Courts Order Payment of Retroactive Child Support?
Generally speaking, the courts can order retroactive child support payments in situations in which the non-custodial parent had not been previously ordered to pay child support and/or was not a party in a lawsuit in which support was ordered. It is ultimately up to a judge to decide whether back child support payments are owed. Judges may use a series of factors to decide whether back child support payments are appropriate or not on a case-by-case basis.
Is There a Deadline for Seeking Back Child Support in Texas?
If the parents already have a child support court order, the deadline for filing for back child support is ten years from the child’s 18th birthday. However, if a child support court order was not in place, a parent seeking back child support payments only has four years after the child’s 18th birthday to take action. The limits on how much back child support you may be able to recover can vary depending on whether a child support order was already in place or not.
Can You Go to Jail if You Owe Too Much Retroactive Child Support?
When a non-custodial parent does not take their obligation seriously, there can be significant consequences once the other parent decides to take action and hold the child support-paying parent responsible. A person who is owed child support may request the Attorney General to enforce the support order, which usually results in the support-paying parent being sued and being made to comply with child support payments.
Alternatively, the non-support paying parent may hire a private attorney and initiate legal action. Depending on the case, the court may find the support-paying parent in contempt of court, possibly resulting in incarceration and a variety of other serious consequences.
How Can an Attorney Help Me Recover Back Child Support?
Each child support case is different, but if you believe your ex owes you retroactive payments, your first step should be to consult with an attorney that handles child support cases to learn your options. At ALP Law Firm, we have assisted many Bellaire, TX residents recover the back child support payments they were owed. Contact us to discuss your case.