Child support date based on when agreement signed or?


#1

Hello. Thank you for answering these questions. My context is this: My now ex and I have signed divorce papers. In those papers, my lawyer put a date at which child support payments made by my ex would end. My ex refused to sign the papers but after six months finally signed the papers. I worried at the time that my ex would not be responsible for child support for those six months due to the date listed in the divorce papers. But to avoid another long delay in getting the papers signed if I changed the date, I kept the date what it was.

My question is this: Does the law indicate that my ex is responsible for child support up to the point the divorce papers are signed OR up to the point the divorce papers indicate the ex is responsible even if that date is a date that occurs before the papers are signed?

Thanks again.


#2

If your separation agreement had a date certain that child support would terminate, then your ex-spouse is responsible for paying the child support up until that date, and if that date passed prior to the execution of the agreement, then he/she would no longer be obligated to pay it since it was not changed.


#3

Thank you for the reply. So the reality is that my ex is valid in now claiming that I owe them money that they paid me for child support during this six months based on the separation agreement? In other words, because they refused to sign the agreement for six months and paid me child support during this time, and because the final agreement gave a date six months prior when the child support ended, I now owe them this money back?

Thanks.


#4

You would not owe any money back to your ex-spouse unless your separation agreement specifically says so.


#5

Thanks although now I am confused. By law, my ex had to pay child support to me. I drew up divorce papers say on January 1 saying that the ex could stop paying me child support effective January 1. My ex refuses to sign the papers for six months up until July 1. During this time from January 1 to July 1, they are still obligated by law to pay child support since no agreement has been signed. So to clarify:

  1. If they had not paid any child support from January 1 to July 1 (contrary to the working separation agreement), then they are not legally obligated to pay it for that time period since the final divorce papers signed July 1 indicate that they could stop paying child support effective January 1.

  2. If they had paid child support (as they were legally obligated to do) during this time period, and the final divorce papers signed on July 1 indicate the end date of paying child support was January 1, then they are out of luck and will not get that money back.

  3. Is it me or if both 1 and 2 are correct, then isn’t there a contradiction of sorts? Number 1 seems to be saying that the date is really important, whereas number 2 seems to be saying that the date is not that important.

Thanks for clarifying all this and the time you are taking to answer these questions.

All the best,


#6

The date is important, but all intentions must be clearly expressed in the separation agreement. You are correct that the payor of child support in your situation had no court ordered obligation to pay child support (assuming there was no child support order in place) and no contractual duty to pay child support (the separation agreement wasn’t executed until after the stated termination date) between January 1 and July 1. Parents have financial responsibility for their children so while the payor in your case should have been paying child support, he/she had no obligation to pay the child support, aside from any criminal culpability.


#7

Thank you so much. There is an incorrect assumption however. My ex did have a “court ordered obligation to pay child support” prior to our separation agreement (we had gone to court).

So given that, ultimately I am wondering in this case if my ex is responsible for child support up until our separation agreement was signed even though the separation agreement states that my ex could stop paying child support prior to the separation agreement being signed. Basically, 1) is my ex entitled to that money back that they paid up until that separation agreement because the separation agreement stated they could stop paying prior to the separation agreement being signed. And 2) if they had not paid child support up until the separation agreement was signed which went against the court order would they be responsible for that child support even if the separation agreement said they could stop paying child support on a date prior to the separation agreement being signed.

Of course, I imagine this could be at a judge’s discretion, although if it is not, then it would be helpful in negotiating things with my ex without (or prior to) having to go to court. I really do appreciate your patience with me as it is really difficult for me to sort this out in my head.


#8

Thank you for clarifying.

(1) Since you and your ex-spouse had a child support court order in place, assuming it was a valid order, then he/she had a legal obligation to pay child support prior to the time your separation agreement was executed. Your ex-spouse would not be entitled to any refund unless your separation agreement specifically states so because he/she was under a presumably valid court order to pay child support.

(2) Yes, your ex-spouse would still be responsible for paying the child support according to the terms of the court order.


#9

Thank you so much for your answers and patience!

All the very best