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Bridging The Child Support Gap

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When parents agree to disagree and part ways, child support will be part of the parting if the children are under the age of 18. Child support is usually based on income with the parent making the most money ordered to pay the obligation. In some cases, the mother is owed something known as back child support that covers her pregnancy. Read on to learn more.

Behind on Child Support

In many cases, the parent ordered to provide child support gets behind on payments. Unfortunately, this matter is taken very seriously by the family court system and by support enforcement agencies. A parent who fails to meet the child support obligation can face some harsh penalties like arrest and jail, loss of driving privileges, loss of public assistance, and more. Some erroneously refer to having child support payments in arrears as back child support. There is another type of support referred to as back child support, however.

Retroactive Child Support

In some cases, a father may be unaware of the need to pay child support if the mother delayed naming him. In that case, once ordered, the father may owe support all the way back to the time the couple either parted ways or got pregnant. A family court judge has the power to make child support retroactive for several months or even years, in some cases. When child support is ordered to cover the mother's pregnancy, the funds are used to cover supplies needed for the coming birth. Some mothers never claim this benefit but it's available in all states.

Married or Not

Couples who are married can have child support ordered beginning with the date the couple began living apart. As with all types of child support, any voluntary sums of money provided for the well-being of the child don't count toward fulfilling a child support obligation. Only the ordered payments count. When a couple goes through a divorce, temporary orders will cover child support and those orders become permanent once the divorce is final. In most cases, it's difficult to adjust the child support order without having strong evidence of ill health or a large change in income.

For unmarried couples, the child support obligation may begin when the couple begins living apart and remains the same throughout the child's life (till age 18 or through college). Naturally, child custody plays a big part in child support with the non-custodial parent being ordered, in almost all cases, to pay the support.

To learn more about back or retroactive child support payments, speak to a family law firm.