Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Can Child Support be Retroactively Modified After It Becomes Due?

Answer: Normally not and, since passage of the Bradley Amendment by the U.S. Congress in 1986, it seems difficult indeed. The Bradley Amendment, 42 U.S.C. § 666(a)(9)(c), basically says that child support cannot be modified after the fact.

The Bradley Amendment, part of a very lengthy federal law, reads as follows:


§ 666. Requirement of Statutorily Prescribed Procedures to Improve Effectiveness of Child Support Enforcement

(a) Types of procedures required

In order to satisfy section 654 (20)(A) of this title, each State must have in effect laws requiring the use of the following procedures, consistent with this section and with regulations of the Secretary, to increase the effectiveness of the program which the State administers under this part:

(9) Procedures which require that any payment or installment of support under any child support order, whether ordered through the State judicial system or through the expedited processes required by paragraph (2), is (on and after the date it is due)—

(C) not subject to retroactive modification by such State or by any other State; except that such procedures may permit modification with respect to any period during which there is pending a petition for modification, but only from the date that notice of such petition has been given, either directly or through the appropriate agent, to the obligee or (where the obligee is the petitioner) to the obligor.

Many people, groups and even judges have come out against the law as having unintended consequences and being grossly unfair. The law does not allow for exceptions even in extreme circumstances. For example, a man was mistakenly put on death row for 10 years and, when his innocence was proven, he was so far in arrears on his child support upon his release ($50,000) that he runs the risk of being thrown in jail, if that has not already occurred. Thus, I understand that there are lawsuits pending regarding the Amendment.

Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C.
Trent Wilcox
For the Firm

Phoenix office:
3030 N. Central Ave., Ste. 705
Phoenix, Arizona 85012
Ph: 602-631-9555
Fx: 602-631-4004

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1616 N. Litchfield Rd., Ste. 240
Goodyear, Arizona 85338
Ph: 623-344-7880
Fx: 602-631-4004

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Disclaimer: Providing the above information does not establish an
attorney-client relationship. To create such a relationship, both the
attorney and potential client must sign a written fee agreement. The
information contained herein is meant only as general information and is not meant to be relied upon for the purpose of taking legal action. You should contact an attorney in person for further and specific information. Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C. attorneys are licensed in Arizona only except for personal injury attorney Robert N. Edwards, who is licensed in Arizona and Minnesota.

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