What circumstances justify child support arrears to be paid?


I have a 14 month old child and I have never received any support from the father. I have yet to receive anything from him… No diapers, no clothing, nothing to help provide for basic needs, and no health insurance coverage - nothing. He has only asked to see our child a few times. So far he’s seen our child twice (both visits totaled about an hour) and that was when our child was almost 9 months old. Our child was conceived outside of his marriage and we have been unable to agree on visitation because his wife has to approve all visits. He’s not allowed to be around me. Therefore, he has never made much effort to see our child and he never even initiates contact to even ask how our child is doing.
I am unemployed and have been living off of my savings and help from my family (with the exception of Medicaid for my child). The father has mentioned that he could ask for custody, but that was only when I reminded him that he has yet to do anything to support our child. Although, he did file suit against me for joint legal custody and visitation last year in October and we are finally headed to mediation next month. He wants to just agree on an amount for child support, but I would feel more comfortable with Child Support Enforcement handling it. That makes him furious and because I feared that he’d go back to threatening to ask for custody - I never filed for Child Support Enforcement until now because I don’t think it’s fair that he not do anything.

Can I ask for child support arrears? Or is arrears only awarded when there is a court order or agreement in place and the parent fails to pay?

Thanks in advance for your time!


You may seek retro active support to cover the actual expenses you have incurred since the child’s birth.


Ms. Clarey, Just to be sure I understand correctly-

[ul]Does this mean I needed to have kept a detailed record of the expenses I’ve incurred? Or does this mean that retro active support will be based on both our incomes during the specific period of time?[/ul] [ul]Does Child Support Enforcement do this automatically or do I need to request that they pursue the retro active support in addition to the future support payments? OR will I have to pursue this on my own / with an attorney through the court?

Thanks so much to you and Rosen Law Firm for providing this forum.


Yes, you must have a detailed list of the expenses you have incurred. The court can decide to award retroactive support according to the guidelines, however in most cases the court will use actual expenses for awarding support prior to a claim being filed. You will need to specifically request back support.