Child Support Orders May be Retroactive to the Filing of a Divorce Complaint
An Ocean County trial court judge has recently ruled that when a party files a divorce complaint that contains a written request for child support, the court may at trial establish a child support obligation retroactive to the filing of the divorce complaint, less an equitable credit for any support paid during this period, even if a motion for child support was not filed or was filed after the complaint filing.
In Kakstys v. Stevens, the parties separated in November, 2013 and a complaint for divorce was filed in March, 2014. The parties have two children and the divorce complaint included a request for child support. In January, 2015 Ms. Kakstys filed a motion for pendente lite support. One of the disputes was the effective date of the support award. Ms. Kakstys argued that the support should be retroactive to either the date of separation or the date of complaint. Mr. Stevens argued that support should only be retroactive to the date the motion was filed.
Judge Jones ultimately decided that the child support should be retroactive to the date the divorce complaint was filed. In a detailed analytical opinion, Judge Jones found that this decision did not violate the “anti-retroactivity” statute relevant to child support. Judge Jones did acknowledge that ultimately the issue of retroactivity is subject to the discretion of the court, based upon the factual circumstances and comparative equities presented.
The take away here is that this is not a bright line rule that child support obligations will always be retroactive to the date the complaint for divorce is filed. However, this is yet another consideration that you must consider when working on settling your divorce case.
All of the attorneys at Domers & Bonamassa are well versed and have years of experience addressing family law issues, no matter how complicated. Contact us today at (856) 596-2888 for a private consultation. We appear in the following counties: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Mercer, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May. Our practice areas include: divorce, custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, domestic violence, college expenses, equitable distribution, name changes, step parent adoptions, paternity issues, child abuse and neglect, prenuptial agreements, mediation and arbitration.
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