California noncustodial parents who have been ordered to pay child support may find that the other parent has filed a request for retroactive support as well. If they have receipts that prove they have kept up with support, they can provide these as evidence. If they can demonstrate that they have helped provide necessities such as food and clothing, the court may take this into consideration. They might also show that they have provided support in a non-monetary way, such as through child care.
It is generally a good idea for parents to keep receipts in the event of such a dispute. Documentation such as communication records that show that support was given or even a witness who can confirm support may help if there are no receipts.
A court will not automatically award back support. In addition to the above documentation, a custodial parent may be required to provide a list of expenses. If the noncustodial parent is male, the custodial parent may have to demonstrate he knew he was the child's father. A court will also consider the non-custodial parent's ability to pay the back support.
In the case of unmarried parents, it might first be necessary to establish paternity before support can be set up. Once paternity is established, the process for calculating and paying support are the same. Parents who do not pay support may have their wages or other income sources garnished. However, parents cannot prevent the noncustodial parents from seeing their children even if they are not keeping up with their obligations, as these are two separate issues.