When Texas parents are going through a divorce or separation and are awarded custody, they will usually also be awarded child support In some circumstances, they can also seek retroactive child support.
To seek back or retroactive child support, they will need to provide a list of expenses and show that they were seeking child support from the non-custodial parent. Seeking support also requires that they prove the non-custodial parents were aware of their obligation to support their child. When the non-custodial parent is the father, the father must have been provided with information of his probable paternity.
People who are seeking back child support should be aware that non-custodial parents may be considered to have provided support if they offered other forms of assistance. For instance, buying clothing or food or paying medical bills may count as providing support. The court will consider the expenses that have been paid by the custodial parent and if the non-custodial parent has made any contributions. Additionally, the court will consider if the non-custodial parent will be able to afford retroactive payments.
If parents have not been paying child support because they cannot afford to do so, they may want to consider requesting a child support modification. A modification may be available if there has been a significant change in circumstances from the time of the original order. This could be the case, for example, if the parent who had been ordered to pay support becomes involuntarily unemployed or has an unforeseen medical emergency. Family law attorneys will advise these clients, however, that if the court awards a modification, it will be prospective only and will not affect any amounts that are in arrears.