Waving United States flag background and a picture of attorney Sabra Janko

Phone consultations available to promote community health due to COVID-19

Retroactive Child Support Credit

Child support modifications are common post-decree actions because it is not unusual for a parent’s income to change. If a parent’s income changes and child support would change in an amount of plus or minus 10% of the current order, then a parent can motion for a modification of support. The new amount will generally go back to the time of filing, however that retroactive amount is not automatic. If a parent would like retroactive child support, he or she request it.

Retroactivity

Courts can order support to date back to an earlier time, such as when parties agreed to a change in parenting time or back to the date of birth of a child in a juvenile paternity matter. Retroactive support may be awarded back to the filing of an initial child support petition or modification as well.

Retroactive child support is not automatic and courts have discretion with regards to issuance. Colorado caselaw dictates that retroactivity should not be awarded if it would deprive the child of support. For example, if the credit would go to the obligor rather than the oblige and deprive the child of support.

Calculation

How is retroactive support calculated? Most courts calculate based on income earned during the retroactive period. If the income varied during the period, most courts calculate based on the lower amount to avoid proration for the retroactive period. Ultimately, the child’s best interests will determine the decision. In juvenile court, support can be ordered back to the date of the child’s birth, but there is a five-year cap on retroactivity. The non-custodial parent can also be required to contribute to the mother’s pre-natal or post-natal expenses if not covered by insurance in juvenile court. The later two remedies are not available in domestic relations court. Therefore, there are some choices involved at times as to whether it is best to file an action in juvenile court or domestic relations court.

Arrears

A retroactive award of child support based on backdating to the time of filing an action is different than a situation where a parent has failed to comply with an existing order and has accumulated arrears. Where a parent has failed to comply with court ordered support, back child support award can be accompanied with interest payments. The Colorado interest rate for arrears is 12% compounded monthly and it continues to accrue until the entire amount is paid. A parent can request a verified entry of support judgment for arrears from the court and can also file a Motion For Contempt as well. The contempt motion is not required to receive a support judgment. The arrears judgment amount is then added to the current child support amount if there is one.

If you have questions about your retroactive child support, contact JLaw LLC for a free case assessment to determine what your legal options are and how we might assist in resolving your legal issue so that you turn change into a new opportunity. We can be contacted at 720-780-0115.

Contact Us for a Consultation
720-780-0115