It is a principle of Florida family law (and family law in every state for that matter) that both parents have an obligation to financially support their biological children at least until the age of 18, unless the child has been adopted by a stepparent. Sometimes a custodial parent does not formally request child support from another parent, however, and the question arises whether that parent can request backdated or “retroactive” child support payments from the other parent.

How Florida Courts Award Retroactive Child Support

Under Florida state law, a court can award retroactive child support payments, but only up to 24 months prior to the time that the support is first requested. Support can only be requested for the period of time, however, in which the parents did not reside in the same household together as the child. Thus, if the child’s father was living with you and the child up until 9 months ago, then you can only request retroactive child support for those 9 months ago even if the father was not doing anything to support the child during the entire time he lived with you and the child.

In determining how much retroactive child support should be awarded, the court will look at several factors, including how much income the “obligor” parent (the one from whom request is being sought) earned during the retroactive period and whether that parent had been voluntarily making payments on behalf of the child without a court order.

Whether a parent is seeking future or retroactive child support payments from an obligor parent, it will apply statewide guidelines in reaching a monthly amount, which involves looking at each parent’s incomes, their respective ability to work, how many children they are supporting, and the needs of the children, among other things. If an obligor parent does not prevent evidence regarding his or her income for the retroactive period, the court may look at the obligor parent’s current income in reaching a retroactive obligation amount.

Legal Help in Your Florida Divorce Action

No matter where you are in the divorce process in Florida, from initial consideration to ongoing litigation, The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A. in Miami can help. Contact our office today to set up a consultation with a trusted and caring family law attorney.

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