The family court system takes a lot of interest in the welfare of minor children, sometimes before they are born or a father is named. Even when the primary caregiver doesn't take action and seek child support, most states have provisions in place to ensure that the other parent is located, named, and ordered to pay child support. The amount and who has to pay is usually based on the income of the parents. To find more about a special type of child support that might be ordered, read on.

Retroactive Support

Some parents are extremely surprised to find out that they owe a large sum of money for a child before the child is even a few months old. That is due to retroactive child support. This form of child support can begin to accrue before the child is born. The courts view child support as monetary help for a child, including unborn children. That means that a parent may be ordered to pay some of the medical, nutritional, and other expenses for a pregnant mother retroactively.

Retroactive child support can also begin to add up, for example, when the mother doesn't ask for child support from the father. The law may not give the mother any choices when it comes to paying for the needs of a baby. If the mother seeks government aid with medical expenses, food, housing, or other needs, the question of paternity automatically pops up. After all, if there is another parent with the ability to make child support payments, it might mean the mother can rely less on government benefits.

Beware of Paternity Issues

Whether you are the parent or not, beware of blindly accepting the paternity of a child. Without verification through DNA testing, you could be depriving the true biological father of the role of parent. Also, if you agree to begin paying child support, you might have to continue until the child is 18 – even if they are later proved to be someone else's child. Taking responsibility for a child is a serious matter, so don't just take the word of the mother – get a test.

Divorce, Separation, and Child Support

The needs of a child are a top priority, and child support rules will apply to any relationship: married, separated, divorced, or something else. The only requirement is that the parents are no longer living under one roof. You can avoid being faced with a large retroactive child support bill by addressing matters as soon as you separate or find out about the child. Don't just volunteer to pay a sum of money – get the court to order it so that credit is given where due.

This is a complex issue, and you will need a family attorney's help in sorting out the above issues.

To learn more, contact a child support attorney.