Can I Seek Back Child Support?

Seeking Back Child Support

When most parents have a child, they do not expect to take care of that child alone. They usually expect the child’s other parent to do his or her part in raising that child, both physically and financially. When this shared responsibility does not happen, the custodial parent may decide to seek child support from the non-custodial parent. What happens when the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support? Can the custodial parent seek back child support? 

Child support is typically awarded to any custodial parent to provide financial assistance for a child’s needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. This support is given until the child reaches the age of 18. Child support is granted by courts, though sometimes the non-custodial parent does not pay child support at all or falls behind in his or her support obligation. When this occurs, a custodial parent has the right to petition the court for any unpaid or back child support, also known as arrears.

What Is the Process for Filing for Back Child Support?

To get this process started, the custodial parent files a petition seeking back child support in the court that initially entered the Order for Child Support. If the judge grants the petition, the parent submits this enforcement order along with the original support order to the Department of Human Resources. Upon the happening of this event, the non-custodial parent is “encouraged” to pay back child support by Alabama imposing a number of sanctions upon him or her. These enforcement steps can include:

  • Withholding income,
  • Suspending a license,
  • Jail,
  • Charging interest on the past due amount, or
  • Putting liens on property.

Note: Child support obligations terminate upon the child’s 19th birthday; however, back owed child support is still enforceable upon the non-custodial parent up to 20 years from the date of the original Order for Child Support.

Need legal advice regarding back child support?

You should not have to take care of your child alone. Children mean obligations for both parents. If you are entitled to child support from a non-custodial parent and have not received it, you have a right to receive back child support. If you or a loved one is seeking more information about back child support, contact MSN’s experienced family law attorneys to help you with your case. 


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