child support

How Does Retroactive Child Support Work In Florida?


In the state of Florida, both of the parents of a child are responsible for providing financial support for the child. This means that the court can and is likely to order the noncustodial parent to contribute to the custodial parent. In some instances, retroactive child support is requested and court ordered.


Retroactive Child Support


Retroactive payments are similar to regular child support, except that it is asked for after the fact. For retroactive, the court can order that the noncustodial parent pays for up to two years of support requested. The possible time for retroactive child support includes the time from the date of the separation until the time the order went into effect. This can include financial support for daycare, school, natal or prenatal expenses, etc. Retroactive support can be ordered while the noncustodial parent is also paying regular payments. The two can be ordered to be paid at the same time. The retroactive can be paid in installments or in one payment altogether.


Let’s look at some examples. If a father has custody over a four-year-old and has yet to get child support, according to Florida law, the court can order the mother to pay for up to 24 months previous to the order. So, whatever expenses were incurred in the first 2 years of the child’s life are obsolete, but as long as the two were separated by the child’s second birthday, retroactive child support could be applicable for the 24 months, or the second 2 years of the child’s life.


How about a mother who requests retroactive child support when the child is 13 but wasn’t separated from the child’s father until the child was 12? In this case, retroactive child care would only be applicable for up to the 12 months that the two were separated.

Child Support in Florida

How does one go about getting retroactive support? The custodial parents files a written request detailing the date the payment should go back to and specifies the reasons for the request. It is best to request sooner rather than later because the longer the custodial parent waits to file, the less likely they are to have the full request granted.


Support is calculated by looking at the salaries of both parents during the time that the retroactive support is being asked for. This means that the current employment status of the parent doesn’t go into the calculation, just the employment status during the time frame for which the support is being requested.


There are a few extenuating circumstances that may limit the payment of retroactive support:


-If a parent has physical or medical conditions that prevent them from being able to make the payment

-If a parent is financially incapable of making the payment

-If the parent making the request had no need for the support during the time requested


There is the instance where child support has just not been paid for a while. This is different from retroactive payments, this is past due. With the order of retroactive child support, past due payments will still be required to be paid along with the retroactive child support.

Parent Seeking Retroactive Child Support

A parent seeking retroactive child support may fear that doing so would jeopardize future payments. However, the court ordered retroactive payments will not affect future payments that will be expected to be paid as usual. Retroactive child support might only affect future payments if the parent being asked to pay goes to the court to petition for a modification of their payment, whether by temporarily reducing or postponing the payment. At the law office of Paul H. Bowen, we specialize in family law and adding professional success to your case. Call us today for questions you may have on retroactive child support.