Being a parent is rewarding. But it’s also no secret that being a parent can be difficult work.
Parenting can feel even more difficult if your ex hasn’t helped to support the child you share.
Fortunately, there are back child support laws in Texas that may allow you to receive financial support from your ex to make up for it.
If you have questions about retroactive child support in Texas, contact family law attorneys Diana and Erik Larson of the Larson Law Office today.
What Is Retroactive Child Support?
Retroactive child support is available where there has been a period of time, prior to the entry of a child support award, when one parent did not provide financial support for the child.
Both parents of a child have an equal obligation to support their child, even if the parents are no longer together and even if there is no child support order in place. If the court has ordered your child’s other parent to pay child support and they refuse, you can get the court to enter a judgment against them for the amount of unpaid support.
But if there is no order, it can be more difficult to force them to pay. This is where retroactive support comes in. You can ask the court to order your child’s other parent to compensate you for their share of child-care expenses you have incurred in the past.
Can Courts Order Retroactive Child Support in Texas?
Yes, courts can order back child support in Texas. However, they can do so only in certain situations.
Pursuant to Texas Family Code Section 154.009, a court may order a parent to pay retroactive child support in Texas if the parent:
- Has not previously been ordered to pay support for the child; and
- Was not a party to a lawsuit in which support was ordered.
However, it is important to note that the court does not have to order retroactive child support.
If both of these elements are true, the judge has discretion to order retroactive child support if it is in the best interest of the child. A judge will use specific facts of the case to make this determination.
Factors to Establish Retroactive Child Support
Judges evaluate requests for retroactive child support on a case-by-case basis. Some factors judges may consider in making their decision include:
- Whether the non-custodial parent was aware of their responsibility to support the child;
- Whether the custodial parent made any attempts to inform the non-custodial parent of their responsibility to provide child support;
- The financial situation of the non-custodial parent during the time period when they did not support the child;
- The current financial situation of the non-custodial parent;
- Whether the non-custodial parent has provided any support, financial or otherwise, outside of a court order; and
- Whether the retroactive child support order will impose an undue financial hardship on the non-custodial parent.
No two cases are the same, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions about what factors may exist in your case.
How Do You Calculate Retroactive Child Support in Texas?
If a court orders back child support in Texas, it will calculate the amount using the retroactive child support guidelines found in section 154.125 of the Texas Family Code.
Under these guidelines, the court must determine the total net resources of the non-custodial parent during the relevant time period. Then, depending on the number of children the parties share, the court will calculate a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s monthly income, as designated by the guidelines. This percentage will dictate the retroactive child support amount. Retroactive child support can go back to the parents’ date of separation.
We Can Answer Your Questions
Sharing a child with an ex is complicated. But you deserve support.
The family law attorneys at The Larson Law Office will fight zealously for your rights to help you get the support you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation, and see what we can do for you.