“Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”
–David Ogden Stiers
In a suit for child support, the court can award current child support, current medical support, retroactive child support, and child support arrearages.
Current child support is an obligation imposed on a parent to support his/her child following a period of time imposed in a final judgment; such as a divorce decree. Generally, the person paying support pays on a monthly basis. The amount paid is based on the net income of the person paying support, and on the number of kids that he/she has a duty to support. As the parent paying support begins to acquire more net income, the other parent can file a motion to modify increase the monthly child support obligation
Medical support is another monthly obligation that the parent paying support has to provide at his/her sole cost and expense. This is done by providing health insurance through his/her employer or through a private insurance carrier. If the parent obligated to pay support does not have health insurance available to him/her through work, and the other parent does have this available, the parent paying support will reimburse the custodial parent for the cost of insuring the child. Uninsured medical expenses are typically split 50-50.
Retroactive child support is the support that accrues prior to there being a court order mandating the payment of support. An example of this is when a mother establishes the paternity of the father; two years after the child is born. In the paternity order, the father can be ordered to reimburse mother the child support that he should have paid since the child was born. In addition to current child support, the father is typically allowed to the retroactive support in monthly increments.
A parent who is ordered to pay child support, and fails to pay support, can be held in contempt of court for not supporting his/her child. If found in contempt, the non-paying parent risks going to jail, being put on probation, being fined, and being ordered to reimburse the other parent the lawyer fees and costs incurred in pursuing the contempt action. In addition to current support, the court will also order the non-paying parent to pay the other parent all child support arrearages; plus interest, on a monthly basis.