What Is Retroactive Child Support?

mother holding her daughter's hands

With today’s rising living costs, both parents need to contribute financially to childcare needs. If your ex-partner hasn’t paid child support payments in a while or paid too little, you might be pulling the load yourself. Did you know you can take family court’s help to make your ex-partner pay? It is called Retroactive Child Support. Let’s talk in detail…

What Is Retroactive Child Support?

Retroactive child support refers to payments that a non-custodial parent may be required to make for a period before an official child support order was established. It is designed to compensate the custodial parent for expenses incurred while raising the child without the necessary payments from the non-custodial parent.

When Is Retroactive Child Support Applicable?

Courts may order retroactive child support in many circumstances. Here are some of them? 

  1. Delayed Child Support Petitions: When custodial parents delay filing for child support, they can later request retroactive support to cover past expenses.
  2. Disputed Paternity: If paternity is established after the child’s birth, the non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay retroactive support from the child’s birth date.
  3. Change in Custody Arrangements: Changes in custody can lead to retroactive support claims for the period the custodial parent had primary custody.
  4. Financial Hardship: If the non-custodial parent faced financial hardships that prevented timely payments, retroactive support might be ordered once their financial situation improves​. 

What Factors Play A Role In Setting Retroactive Child Support Amounts? 

1. Financial Situation of Both Parents

The court will assess both parents’ income, assets, and overall financial health, so they can assess each parent’s ability to contribute to the child’s support at that time. 

2. Child’s Expenses

These expenses include housing, food, education, healthcare, and other essential needs. 

3. Income and Earning Capacity

This includes tax returns, pay stubs, and other financial records to determine what each parent could have reasonably contributed to child support during that time. 

4. Date of Separation

It helps to establish a clear timeline for calculating the owed support​.

5. Parental Awareness

If they knowingly avoided their responsibilities, it might influence the court’s decision on the amount and duration of retroactive support​. 

a lawyer signing a contract with a client at a desk

How to Apply for Retroactive Child Support? 

Since the application involves extensive documentation, we recommend you work with an experienced child support lawyer in Brampton to put the best case ahead possible. Here are the steps involved:

1. Filing a Motion

The custodial parent must file a motion with the court to establish or modify child support. It serves as a formal request to the court to consider retroactive support. 

2. Providing Evidence

The custodial parent should provide financial records, receipts for child-related expenses, and any other evidence that demonstrates the need for retroactive support. 

3. Court Hearing

Both parents will have the opportunity to present their case. The custodial parent must be prepared to explain why retroactive support is necessary and provide evidence to support their claim. The non-custodial parent can also present their side, including any reasons for non-payment during the retroactive period​.

4. Court Decision

Family courts in Ontario make sure that they provide a fair and just outcome based on the financial circumstances of both parents and the child’s needs during the retroactive period​. 

Looking for a trusted child support lawyer to represent you in court? Our lawyers at Sterling Law are here for you. Schedule a consultation today.

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