Yet another CS question

Thank you so much for the help so far.

Question this time -

Part 1 - If there is not an agreement in place, at what point is Dad required to pay child support?
(a) the date he left the marital home, or
(b) as of the date a claim is filed with Child Support Enforcement and/or the Court?

And, when formally ordered, will CS be retroactive to whichever date is applicable based on the answer to the above?

Part 2 - If there is not an agreement and, to date, there have not been any CSE or court claims filed on the case, but Dad has - out of good faith - continued to direct deposit money into Mom’s account to help support his kids, can/will he receive ‘credit’ for that amount towards whatever the total (retro) amount of child support is?

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


At the time of separation arrangements should be made to finacially support the children. If this has not been done, then child support can be filed for at any time by either parent.
If there is a claim filed, it would be retroactive only if there is an agreement in place. If there is no agreement then the CS amount would be figured and put into affect at that time.

If one parent is putting money into the other’s account to help support the children then this is child support whether agreed on or not. Make sure to keep records of this transaction. My husband’s ex attempted to get more money in court by saying that the checks he wrote her for child support prior to their court date, did not specify they were for child support…the judge replied that she did not believe that Mr. … would just be writing a check for no reason. The same could be said for deposits made after the date of separation. This also sets an amount that can be used in an agreement. If you’re paying X amount, I suggest you begin writing a check for that amount instead of direct deposit. This will separate your finacial records and give you a record.

Stepmother: Your response is not entirely accurate. A claim for retroactive child support spanning prior to the date of filing can be made. The court may award child support prior to the filing based either upon the actual expenditures made for the children, or based on the guideline amount. Courts can award retroactive support for up to 3 years.

Part 1 - Once you are separated, Dad needs to start paying child support. Again, a claim made with Child Support Enforcement can seek retroactive support from prior to the date of filing.

2: Yes, dad will receive credit for payments made to Mom. I agree and would normally write a check with the term “child support” in the Memo field to specify payments of child support.

If child support is being paid, though not specified as child support and there is no agreement, how often would a retroactive claim using the guidelines be awarded?
I mean, if dad is paying $100 a week (average) and a claim is filed 6 months into the separation with the guidelines adjusting that amount to $125 a week, would the courts go back those 6 months just due to mom filing with CSE? I would think that the amount being deposited, if it’s within a small percentage of the guideline amount, would be sufficient to show that though there was no written agreement, support was established and being paid. Maybe I just see it differently though…

Straight from the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The relevant portion is near the bottom:

North Carolina’s child support guidelines apply as a rebuttable presumption in all legal proceedings involving the child support obligation of a parent (including orders entered in criminal and juvenile proceedings, orders entered in UIFSA proceedings, and voluntary support agreements and consent orders approved by the court). The guidelines do not apply to child support orders entered against stepparents or other persons or agencies who are secondarily liable for child support. If a child’s parents have executed a valid, unincorporated separation agreement that determines a parent’s child support obligations and an action for child support is subsequently brought against the parents, the court must base the parent’s child support obligation on the amount of support provided under the separation agreement rather than the amount of support payable under the child support guidelines unless the court determines, by the greater weight of the evidence taking into account the child’s needs and the factors enumerated in the first sentence of G.S. 50-13.4©, that the amount of support under the separation agreement is unreasonable.

In cases involving a parent’s obligation to support his or her child for a period before a child support action was filed. (i.e., cases involving claims for “retroactive child support” or “prior maintence”), a court may determine the amount of the parent’s obligation (a) pursuant to the child support guidelines, or (b) based on the parent’s fair share of actual expenditures for the child’s care.