Timing is Everything-Know the Timeline for Your Support Case

One of the most confusing aspects of divorce and separation is the timing of your support case. Whether it is for child support or interim support of a spouse, knowing the timing can save you from headaches and financial distress.

Here is what you need to know if you are a support recipient:

  1. When you file a support action, support starts to accrue immediately. However, you will not receive support through the courts right away. For example, if you file for support on September 10th, your support conference will not be until sometime in mid-October.
  2. Your first support payment will not be due until the first day of the first month after your support conference. So, in the example above, the first payment would be due on November 1st.
  3. You will not receive your first payment on the day that it is due. Your first payment will not be considered late until the end of the month, so November 30th with my example.
  4. You will likely be owed arrears. Your arrears will be calculated as the support due from when you filed until the due date of your first payments. Under the example above, arrears will accrue from September 10th through October 31st.
  5. Your arrears will likely be paid to you in small amounts over a period of a year or more. So, if you are owed $3,000.00 per month but the arrears are $5,000.00, you may receive an extra $300.00 per month until the arrears are paid in full.
  6. Having large arrears owed to you is not necessarily a good thing. You are better off getting your support earlier and waiting less time for a support payment. This means filing for support earlier than you think you will need it. In the example above, if you know in August you will be moving out on September 10th, file in August. You will then get your first support conference hopefully in September and everything will be moved up a month. When you get to the support conference you would say that you are moving out in September so they would not give you arrears back to August but only to your move out date. Yes, your arrears will be lower but you will have your support sooner, which is more important.

If you are a payor of support know this:

  1. You will get credit for any monies you advance prior to the support conference. This lower the arrears you owe. So, if you have paid your spouse’s car insurance, rental deposit, given them cash, etc. keep track of this. You want to be able to show proof to get credit toward your arrears. If you are giving cash get a receipt or pay by check instead.
  2. If your spouse made withdrawals from the account where you deposit your paycheck, keep track as you may be entitled to a credit.
  3. Check with your employer to determine whether your wage attachment as gone through. If it has not and the end of the month when your first payment is due is approaching, you may need to make a payment to PACSES directly so your account does not go into collections.
  4. Once the Order is in effect, do not pay the support to your spouse directly unless your attorney directs you to do so because you may not receive credit for your payment.

Support issues can be complicated. If you need help, here is how to get started.

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