Is there a legal issue with retroactive child support?

mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

I was recently ordered to pay child support at a percentage rate of 20% of my earnings, which I have no problem with.

But at the closing of the hearing, the judge decided to apply retroactive child support and add it to the original amount which would increase my weekly payment to 26%. Is this legal?


In the state I practice in (Illinois), a judge may order retroactive child support. The retroactive amount may be imposed back to the date that the pleading requesting support was filed.

The retroactive amount may be paid off in a lump sum, other agreed payment plan, or by adding the retroactive amount to the future payments, which appears to be what was ordered in your case.

When the retroactive amount is added to the future payments, the “regular” child support amount is typically increased 20% until the retroactive amount is paid off.  For example, if $400 in retroactive support is ordered, this amount would be paid off at $80 per month for five months.

Therefore, until the retroactive child support amount is paid off, your child support obligation will be higher than 20% of your net income.  However, this increased amount will only remain in effect until the retroactive support is paid off.

If you have questions about the specific amount of support that was ordered in your case, you should contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in your area to review your child support order.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers across the country, including Illinois.


Erin Brockhoff is an Associate Attorney in the Belleville, IL office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Brockhoff is licensed in the state of Illinois, and the Southern and Northern Districts of Illinois. Ms. Brockhoff received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Psychology, magna cum laude, from Miami University. She received her Juris Doctor from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society.

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3 comments on “Is there a legal issue with retroactive child support?

    I was ordered to pay $129.00 weekly in Feb of 2012 in Arkansas. Since then I’ve become disabled and I’m now recieving $1033 monthly from disability (SSDI). I applied for multiple modifications and all attempts to lower my support were dismissed. As a result, Im paying 55% of my disability benefits to child support ($558 monthly), leaving me with a mere $475 per month to live on. When I finally get back to court, can I get retroactive reimbursement? By AR law I was only entitled to pay $100 per month.

    Basically why get retro pay for a job he currently started 8mths instead of getting retro pay for when the case started or birth like mentioned earlier we weren’t married. So why start retro there the ncp had previous jobs before while the child was born and then after that job the ncp got fired then another which he left and got unemployed until this job here where I’m now receiving payments shouldn’t we be able to go back as far as the case instead of just 8mtha ago curious

    I wanted to know as to why the ncp retro doesn’t get the retro support as far back as when the case started on when he started the job we currently have finally found him at and now get support from we weren’t never married etc. Before finding this job he was employed then got fired but then wasn’t until this job that I’m receiving the support from. I’m just wondering why not go back as far at least when I started case or birth , not when we got the order for this job? Thank you

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