Retroactive Child Support

Angela Princewill

March 29, 2016

What is the meaning of retroactive child support?

Retroactive child support refers to claims for child support for a period preceding the commencement of proceedings.

So when we talk about retroactive child support, we are referring to child support owing for a period prior to you bringing an application seeking child support.

Here’s a scenario that happens all too often. Parents separate and the child is residing primarily with one parent. For whatever reason, the parent that the children resides with does not receive child support from the other parent.

Years pass by and the parent who the resides with the child has been asking for support over time & here you are a few years later wondering what is going on? Am I going to get any support for all these years that I have been providing for all the children’s financial needs?
The answer in an in a nutshell is yes. The court can order payment of child support retroactively. The court will consider the following factors:

1) the reason for the delay in seeking support

2) the conduct of the party who is to pay the support – is there any blameworthy conduct?

3) the child’s past and present circumstances

4) hardship that will result to the parent who is to pay the support retroactively

The courts will also consider how far back it should go in awarding child support and this will be based on the date of effective notice. Effective notice is the date you bring the subject of paying child support to the other party’s attention or the day you asked for a review of the amount of support being paid.

Unless there is blameworthy conduct on the part of the party who is to pay support, his or her liability will be limited to no more than 3 years from the date of formal notice. There is a difference between effective and formal notice. As the support recipient has an obligation to move matters along, once effective notice has been given. If there is blameworthy conduct, then the 3year limitation period will not apply.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact our AP Lawyers in Toronto, Pickering, Markham, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.