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Will they backdate child support to when I filed for custody if I am awarded custody?

Oxford, MI |

I filed for custody of my two children in November of 2012. The custodial parent agreed to give me custody of the oldest and we are going through an interview/investigation process for custody of the other. I do owe arrearages but have paid over $3800 in child support since I got custody of one of the children. If I get custody of my other child will they backdate child support for both children to when I filed for custody just like they do with a change of income and support order? I am trying to get everything in order and pay my arrearages but FOC said it can take 4 months to fix my child support so I am still paying child support for the child I got custody of so money is getting a little tight. Thank You!

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Attorney answers 2


Unless an order changing custody of the oldest child from the other parent to you was entered when the child came to live with you, child support would continue to accrue as to that child. In other words, child support is related to the number of overnights exercised, as that is defined by the court order in place. Accordingly, if an order changing custody of the oldest was entered, child support should have not only abated as of the date the order was entered, but should have been re-calculated to determine if the other parent should be paying child support to you and if so, how much, for the support of the oldest child. The same principle would obtain as to the younger child. If each of you have custody of one child, child support should still be re-calculated to determine who, if anyone, should be paying support. As you can see, this is not a simple matter. You might want to retain the services of an experienced family law attorney to assist you.
Laurel Stuart-Fink
(248) 626-5450

This comment is designed for general information only, and should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.


Support will change when physical custody is changed. So, if you have had custody of one child and a court order has been entered for that child, support should also be modified as of the date that child came to reside with you. When custody of your other child changes and he/she begins to live with you, support would be ordered changed as of the date he/she begins to reside with you. If the child/children was/were living with you when you filed the motion to change custody, child support should be made retroactive from the date you filed your motion and it was served on the court ordered custodial paper from whom you are seeking to change custody.

If it takes 4 months for the support order to change and take effect in Lansing, you should be given credit for that period.

Neil M. Colman

Mr. Colman is licensed to practice law in Michigan. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Colman strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.