My husband and I seperated when my daughter was 6 weeks old. After that he disappeared. I didn't even know if he lived in our state anymore. My daughter and I went on with our life, and although I couldn't get divorced because I couldn't find him. He never saw our daughter contacted me or paid anything in child support. He has now resurfaced again and I have filed for divorce. His attorney tells me he is not responsible for back child support because it's only from the date of filing the divorce petition. Is that really true?
Family Law Attorney
Unfortunately, that is true. Section 14-10-115(2)(a), Colorado Revised Statutes provides as follows: "In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance, or child support, the court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child of the marriage to pay an amount reasonable or necessary for the child's support and may order an amount determined to be reasonable under the circumstances for a time period that occurred after the date of the parties' physical separation or the filing of the petition or service upon the respondent, whichever date is latest, and prior to the entry of the support order, without regard to marital misconduct."
You are wrong, by the way, when you say you could not divorce him because you could not find him. If you filed a divorce case and satisfied the court that you were unable to find him after making reasonable effort to do so, the court would have allowed you to serve him by publication in a local newspaper.
www.karlgeil.com. This answer is provided as general information about a legal issue, is not legal advice specific to a particular case, and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the person asking the question.
Mr. Geil is absolutely correct. Retroactive child support is not available in divorce prior to the date of filing. You could have filed for divorce even without being able to locate your husband, but because you have remained married, the Court will only be able to address issues from the divorce filing forward. Unfortunately, a lot of negative things can happen when parties physically separate but take no action to actually dissolve the marriage until years later.
You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or info@Harkess-Salter.com. Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.