How is Retroactive Child Support Determined in Iowa?

How is Retroactive Child Support Determined in Iowa?

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
February 13, 2020

Whatever your given scenario, obtaining child support can be an emotional and confusing process. Some common questions regarding child support include, “How do I apply for child support? How far back do payments go? Is child support shared in Iowa? Can I apply for retroactive payments if I waited to notify the other parent?” In this article, we’ll discuss the process and any rules associated with getting retroactive child support payments in Iowa. And for more information on child support in Iowa check out our article Iowa Child Support Law 2020.

Can I Apply for Retroactive Child Support in Iowa?

The quick answer is yes. In Iowa, as in most states, both parents have a duty to support their child. The courts look at the parent’s combined income, along with a number of other factors, to come up with a “basic child support amount.” Each parent’s financial situation is taken into account in order to determine what he or she will be ordered to pay each month. Some basic factors considered by the court when computing child support include:


  • Each parent’s and child’s financial resources;
  • The living situation prior to the parent’s separation or notification of parentage;
  • Any disability associated with the parent or child and need for stay-at-home care;
  • Overall childcare costs in the geographic area;
  • The child’s educational needs;
  • Tax considerations;
  • Anything else deemed appropriate by the court.

Generally, In the situation of a custodial and non-custodial parent, the non-custodial parent will pay their share to the custodial parent through the proper channels. To read more one this, check out Iowa Child Support Law 2020.

How Far Back Does Retroactive Child Support Go?

In Iowa, retroactive child support is limited to three months, up to the date the opposing party received notification. This makes it perfectly clear that the longer one parent waits to notify the other parent the less child support has to be paid on legal grounds. But, it also means that once you notify the other parent even if child support does not begin for a few months, you’ll be entitled to those retroactive payments. 

How Do I Apply For Retroactive Child Support?

In most cases when the other parent is served with “Papers to Establish a Parent-Child Relationship,” this is the notification to the other parent. This would be followed by the Motion requesting child support and then at some point the court will order the other parent to begin paying child support. If the original notification was served on January 1st and the court order to pay child support was handed down May 15th, the filing parent would be entitled to the full three months of retroactive payments. This could also be applied to modifications in the case of a substantial change in financial situations for one spouse or the other, or substantial change in the child’s situation. For more information on modifications to child support order check out the article Iowa Child Support Modification Explained.

While the rule for Iowa retroactive child support seems pretty concrete, every situation is unique and you may be entitled to payments beyond the above written three months. If you feel you are entitled to child support payments for any period of time don’t hesitate to reach out to O’Flaherty Law to speak with one of our legal professionals.


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How Do I Apply For Retroactive Child Support?

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