After a divorce, there may come a time when you will need to request a modification to your child support. Whether you receive or pay support, you have the right to request a change if there is something in your life circumstances that changes substantially.
According to the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, most of the time, any changes resulting from a modification request will go into effect upon the order from the court. However, it is possible that the court may decide to make the modification retroactive.
In some cases where you have a pending complaint for a period of time, the court may decide to make the ruling retroactive. The law states this may happen with the retroactive period going back to the filing of the initial complaint.
So, if you file a request for modification on July 1, but the court does not hear your case until August 25, the court may be able to make the changes go into effect since July 1. If your request was for an increase to your support payments, then your former spouse would have to pay the increased amount dating back to July 1.
The court’s decision
You should note that modification decisions, including making them retroactive, are completely up to the court. If you have a simple monetary change, the court does have formulas to use, but in general, the process is very subjective and up to the interpretation of the court, which means it is possible for the court to decide not to make a ruling retroactive