Separation Advice For Wife’s Retroactive Support Request

Mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

My legal separation advice question is about child support laws when requesting retroactive child support during the pendency of divorce.

My wife left me six months ago. In her filing for divorce, she requested I pay her retroactive child support starting from the moment she moved out of the marital home.

Will she be awarded retroactive child support payments from the time she left me until the divorce is finalized?


Regarding your request for financial advice on divorce, in Texas (where I practice), a Petition for Divorce with Children can request temporary, current, and retroactive child support.

In calculating retroactive child support, the court must: determine whether it should be awarded; calculate the length of time for which retroactive support should be awarded; determine the respondent’s net resources; apply the child support guidelines in determining the amount of support; and consider any other factors that might warrant a deviation from the guidelines.

Pursuant to Texas Family Code Section 154.009(a), if the Respondent has not been previously ordered to pay child support, the court can order retroactive child support.

While the court can order retroactive child support, it is not required to do so. For example, Texas courts have previously not awarded retroactive child support when there was a finding that some child support was paid by the father in the past.

If retroactive child support is awarded the court must decide the relevant time period in the past for which the child support is to be awarded.

The Family Code presumes that the four years before the suit was filed is a reasonable period for calculating retroactive child support and is in the child’s best interest. See Tex. Fam. Code. Sec. 154.131(c).

Thus, the court can award support up to four years prior if it is warranted. As I mentioned previously, the court does not have to award retroactive support and likely will not do so if there is a finding of some support of the child being paid by the father.

For more information please contact a Texas family law attorney. Please be advised that my answering of this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

To set up an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell divorce lawyer, including Jennifer Hankinson, a Staff Attorney in the Dallas, Texas office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.  

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