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Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses Retroactive Child Support in Maryland

Written by Amar Weisman » December 10, 2014 »

Parents who decide to separate for whatever reason are often faced with a number of child-related issues, including child support. While some are able to reach their own agreements with respect to payment of support, others have to rely on the court system to resolve their child support issues.

Your Baltimore and Towson family law attorney will tell you that if the child's parents were married and they have gone through the divorce process, agreements made at the time of their separation will likely be replaced with a legally binding child support agreement and divorce decree. In some cases, the judge might grant a parent child support to cover a certain time period prior to the agreement being legally binding. That back pay is known as "retroactive child support."

Understanding Retroactive Payments

In general, retroactive child support permits courts to order support for earlier periods when no official order was in place, sometimes going back many years to when the child was born. In some cases, the parent may be expected to pay the retroactive amount in a lump sum; however, there are occasions when an installment plan can be created to last until a specified date.

Family law attorneys know there are a number of reasons why a parent may be made to pay support retroactively. For example, if the parent who is responsible for making support payments fails to provide (or purposefully conceals) full, accurate information about their income and expenses, he or she could be made to make retroactive payments.

Additionally, retroactive payments could be required in cases where no support was paid during an unmarried couple's separation and one parent later seeks to obtain money to cover expenses incurred during that period of time.

Parental Duties and Limits on Retroactive Support

Most parents know and understand that they have a duty to support their kids. Maryland laws specifically discuss child support obligations and payment requirements, which typically start from birth and last until the child turns 18 (or longer, in some cases).

A court can order retroactive child support be paid back to the date of the parents' separation, if they were married or back to the date of the child's birth, if they were not married. It is important for parents to note, however, that retroactive support differs from support arrearage. To be clear, retroactive support concerns the time period prior to the beginning of a permanent order. Arrearages deal with court-ordered support that a non-custodial parent has failed to pay.

What Can Happen If You Do Not Pay?

Unfortunately, some parents decide for whatever reason they are not going to make child support payments, retroactively, arrearages or otherwise. When that happens, the parent seeking payment has a number of options.

The court can actually punish non-paying parents by having them serve time in jail, suspending their professional and/or driver's license or putting a lien on any personal or real property the parent may own. One of the most common means of enforcement, however, is the state's interception of the non-paying parent's federal income tax refund, lottery winnings and government payments.

If you are a custodial parent with questions about your right to retroactive child support payments, contact a family law attorney at the Law Offices of Amar Weisman, LLC today.

Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation 

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free ConsultationThe Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.