Retroactive Child Support in Mississippi

In Mississippi, the laws regarding parenting and child support are clear. The parent who does not hold majority custody of the child (called the non-custodial parent) must pay a percentage of their income to the parent that has majority custody (called the custodial parent). Child support is not a punishment. It is the agreed-upon system by which Mississippi believes children should be cared for. Whether the parents divorced or were never married to begin with, Mississippi believes that the child is entitled to the standard of living they would have received had they been raised by both parents who created them.

Retroactive Support Vs. Back Support

Back child support is when a court issues a child support mandate, but the non-custodial parent hasn’t paid it. These are multiple back payments that are due and unpaid. Retroactive child support is support that is awarded for a period of time prior to when the court first mandates child support be paid. For instance, if a mother has raised a child for several years on her own and she then proves paternity, she can be awarded child support going forward and retroactive child support for the years she parented alone.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations on retroactive child support is seven (7) years. This was changed in 1991 from one (1) year of retroactive pay available. This means if a mother proves paternity and is awarded child support when the child is seven years old, she may be entitled to retroactive support that covers the cost of raising the child alone up to this point. Another key difference between retroactive and regular support is that retroactive support is only viable before the child turns 18. Routine child support ends when the child turns 21 or when they begin supporting themselves or if they join the army.

How Is Retroactive Support Calculated?

Retroactive child support can be awarded in two ways. The first amount is based on how much the non-custodial parent would have been required to pay if the child support agreement had been filed earlier. This is based on the standard calculation of 14% of the non-custodial income for one child, 20% for two children, and so on. The second way is the “fair share” method and is most often awarded during cases on children with high medical bills. In this instance, the non-custodial parent will be asked to pay an amount that approximates what would have been their “fair share” had they been around during the child’s illness or development.


For more information about retroactive child support, call The Law Offices of Rusty Willard at (601) 824-9797.