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Retroactive Child Support Texas: What Goes Into a Judge’s Decision

In Texas, the amount of child support owed from one parent to the other could be subject to review. If you currently owe child support, you could be ordered to make additional payments on a retroactive basis if a court determines that you have not been paying your fair share.

Or, you could be on the other side of the coin where you believe that the other parent has not paid their fair share. Fortunately, the child support laws in the state of Texas may help you get financial support from the other parent so you can make up for those losses.

Whether you may owe more child support down the road or believe you should be receiving more than you currently are, it’s important to review retroactive child support Texas residents need to know. This knowledge will help you understand what will impact a judge’s decision.

What is Retroactive Child Support in Texas?

Retroactive child support (also known as back pay) is available in Texas if there has been a period of time before the original child support order was issued that the other parent did not provide financial support for the child.

If the court has ordered the other parent to pay child support and he or she refuses to do so, you could get the court to enter a judgment against that person for the unpaid amount. But if there is no order, it can be more difficult to get that person to pay.

Compelling the other parent to pay their fair share is the purpose of retroactive child support in Texas. You can ask the court to order the other parent to compensate you for his or her share of any expenses related to childcare.

Can Courts Order Retroactive Child Support in Texas?

Courts can order you to pay retroactive child support in the state of Texas, but they can only do it in certain situations. According to the child support guidelines outlined in Section 154.009 of the Texas Family Code, a court can order a parent to pay retroactive child support if:

  • There has been no previous order for the payment of child support.
  • He or she has not been party to a lawsuit in which the support was ordered.

The court can order retroactive child support in these circumstances, but it’s not required to do so. The judge will use specific factors to make a decision.

How Far Back Can Retroactive Child Support Be Claimed?

If you have never filed for child support before, you can claim retroactive child support in Texas as far back as the date the two of you separated. But the general rule that a lot of judges follow is four years.

Typically, judges do not go back further unless there are some extreme circumstances where the non-custodial parent knew of his or her child support responsibilities, had the resources to pay the other parent, and still did not pay.

What Factors are Used to Establish Retroactive Child Support?

Judges look at requests for retroactive child support on a case-by-case basis. Some of the factors they may consider as they make a decision can include:

  • Whether the non-custodial parent was aware of his or her child support responsibilities.
  • Whether the custodial parent made an effort to inform the non-custodial parent of his or her child support responsibilities.
  • The financial situation of the non-custodial parent during the time when he or she did not support the child.
  • The current financial situation and net resources of the non-custodial parent.
  • Whether the non-custodial parent offered any other kind of support for the child (financial or otherwise).
  • Whether the retroactive child support order would impose an undue financial hardship on the non-custodial parent.
  • Whether there would be an impact on the best interests of the child.

After reviewing the evidence and factors involved in the case, the court may order a parent to pay retroactive child support. The focus will be on determining the amount of retroactive child support that may be ordered, if any.

Retroactive Child Support Texas: Find Support from a Family Law Attorney

Child support payments are a sensitive legal issue that requires an expert touch to guide you through the family law process.

If you are concerned that you may be asked to pay additional court-ordered support, contact us right away to discuss your case. You don’t want to be held in contempt of court for not fulfilling your child support obligation.

Or, if you believe you are owed more child support than you have received, get in touch with our attorneys. We know it can be challenging to care for your child if your ex-spouse has not helped with financial responsibilities or if you believe they are withholding payment from you.

At the end of the day, no two child support cases are exactly the same. So, be sure to reach out to our helpful team of child support lawyers for more information about retroactive child support Texas parents need to know.

We currently provide legal support for parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, reach out to our offices ​​to discuss your child support case.

You can reach our family law office near you at 979-267-7660 (Angleton office) or 281-944-5485 (Sugar Land office). Our team of family law experts would be happy to review the existing child support order and help you with your case.