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Your Guide to Retroactive Child Support in Florida


Under Florida law, a non-custodial parent — the parent who does not have primary custody — has a legal duty to provide financial support to their child. Once a child support order or child support agreement is in place, payments should be made on time. If they are not, the custodial parent has the right to take legal action.

Notably, under certain circumstances, a custodial parent may be eligible to recover ‘retroactive’ child support. Retroactive child support is child support that covers the gap period between when support should have initially been paid and when a child support agreement/order was actually put into place. In this article, our top-rated Tampa child support lawyers explain the most important things that you need to know about retroactive child support in Florida.

Retroactive Child Support: Explained

Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 61.30), retroactive child support can be obtained by the custodial parent. It is important for parents to understand what exactly retroactive child support actually means: the term refers to the support that was owed between the date when a custodial parent became legally eligible to obtain child support and the date when a child support order went into effect.

As an example, imagine that a couple with a young child got separated in January of 2018. As the legal process is relatively slow, the parent with primary custody did not obtain a child support order until January of 2019. No child support payments were actually made by the non-custodial parent in 2018. Under Florida law, the parent with custody would have a legal right to seek retroactive child support for the year 2018.

Statutory Maximum: 24 Months of Retroactive Child Support

Florida has a strict statutory cap on the amount of retroactive child support that can be awarded. Specifically, parents can only seek up to 24 months of retroactive child support. Even if a parent would otherwise be eligible to recover retroactive child support for many years, Florida law limits retroactive child support to 24 months. If you believe you are owed retroactive child support, you need to take immediate action. Do not let the statute of limitations expire.

Retroactive Child Support Order Can Be Flexible

In structuring how retroactive child support is to be paid, courts retain considerable flexibility. In some cases, courts will mandate retroactive child support as a lump sum payment. However, in other cases, courts will create an ‘installment’ plan that allows the retroactive child support obligations over a reasonable time period. This issue is always handled on a case-by-case basis.

Speak to Our Tampa, FL Child Support Attorney Right Away

At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Florida family law lawyers have deep experience representing parents in child support cases. If you have questions or concerns about retroactive child support, we are here to help. To request a fully confidential consultation with our experienced child support lawyers, please contact our legal team today. From our office in Tampa, we serve parents throughout Hillsborough County.



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