There is a significant difference of child support that has never been ordered versus if there is an order that is looking to be either increased or decreased. In Massachusetts there is a determination about whether retroactive child support will do relates to whether or not the child was born out of wedlock. If the parties are getting a divorce there is a presumption that spouses have been supporting each other and the children and therefore child support can only be requested in a divorce case after the date of service of the Complaint for Divorce unless the parties voluntarily agree otherwise.
However, if a child was born out of wedlock, sometimes referred to as “the paternity case” retroactive child support can be owed. If a parent has not been supporting the child and not living with the child the court can go back all the way to the child’s birth for retroactive child support. Even if a case has not been filed until the child is much older, there can be calculations and going back to arrears back to the date of the child’s birth, the date that the child was not being supported by the non-custodial parent.