The state of New York’s courts frequently award retroactive child support payments to cover expenses incurred while divorce cases are pending. These payments are not the court-ordered support applied at a later date, and they may be paid in installments or a lump sum. Read on to learn more about retroactive child support and how NYC child support lawyers can help custodial parents collect it.
When Can a Parent Get Retroactive Child Support?
New York’s courts typically award retroactive child support once divorce proceedings are initiated and the custodial parent has assumed responsibility for the child’s daily needs. Here, the non-custodial parent would be required to reimburse the other parent for the months in which the divorce was pending. New York, like many other states, allows parents to collect support back to the date of application, not from the date of its approval. There are two ways to collect:
- A special, court-ordered award for funds already spent on the child’s needs
- An award that goes into effect at a date earlier than that of the application
Can A Parent Receive Retroactive Support to the Child’s Birthdate?
Retroactive support payments are backdated to when the custodial parent filed the request or when the divorce proceedings started, not to the child’s birthdate. However, if a custodial parent was receiving public assistance, the Department of Social Services may file a claim against the non-custodial parent for retroactive support going back to the date the child became eligible for services. Also, if a child is born out of wedlock, the custodial parent may bring paternity proceedings in which a non-custodial father will be required to reimburse the mother for pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery expenses.
How Much Retroactive Support Will the Non-Custodial Parent Have to Pay?
Once the family court calculates the amount to be paid, the judge determines how the non-custodial parent will pay without causing financial hardship to either party. New York’s courts typically require non-custodial parents to pay what they are financially able to give, and the award will become effective from the date of application or the date when the children became eligible for public assistance. When the court mandates an amount higher than that recommended by New York’s Child Support Standards Act, it will issue an order adding to the retroactive amount being paid.
Which Expenses Can a Parent Get an Award For?
New York’s courts can grant either parent a special award for the following:
- The costs of pregnancy and childbirth
- Funeral expenses for a child who has died
- Part or all of the cost of raising the child
Awards for childcare costs are based on the child’s needs and the non-custodial parent’s ability to pay. Consult a child support lawyer for help getting what your children deserve.
Will a Retroactive Award Reduce Future Child Support Payments?
A retroactive award doesn’t reduce court-ordered payments that come after the amount is determined and finalized, even if the court requires the support to be paid via installments. However, court-ordered payments might be reduced if the paying parent files a request for modification.
What Happens if Retroactive Child Support Isn’t Paid?
If the New York family court decides that the non-custodial parent must pay the other parent retroactive support payments while the divorce is ongoing, but the non-custodial parent does not make the payments, the other parent may petition the court to garnish the non-paying parent’s wages. New York’s laws hold that support payments take priority over other debts, and failure to make the required payments will result in a contempt of court charge that carries a jail sentence of up to six months. Other possible sanctions include a reduction of future tax refunds, driver’s license suspension, a bad credit report, and passport or professional license denial.
Is It Necessary to Hire a Family Lawyer for Retroactive Child Support Collection?
If a parent is seeking retroactive child support, it is best to consult an experienced family attorney. Consulting a local lawyer can help a custodial parent understand his or her options and navigate the complex legal system. Visit the website for additional details on the firm’s services or call today to schedule a no-obligation initial consultation.