The North Carolina Court of Appeals decided the case of Loosvelt v. Brown, ___ N.C.App. ___ (2014) on 15 July 2014. Mr. Grant Loosvelt, a California citizen, brought a lawsuit against Ms. Stacy Brown for child custody and to establish his child support obligation. Ms. Brown brought counterclaims including one for retroactive child support. The trial court awarded over $7,000.00 per month in child support along with almost $40,000.00 in retroactive child support including in excess of $5,000.00 in pre-birth nursery expenses and maternity clothes.
The Court of Appeals addressed the issue of retroactive child support and clarified the law on what expenses can be recovered before a child’s birth. A parent’s obligation to pay child support arises when the child is born. However, a parent may be obligated for “medical expenses incident to the pregnancy and birth of the child.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 49–15.
A parent can seek retroactive child support for child support prior to the filing of a complaint. However, the Statute of Limitations (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-52(2)) limits a parent to no more than three years of retroactive support. The parent seeking retroactive child support must present sufficient evidence of past expenditures made on behalf of the child, and evidence that such expenditures were reasonably necessary.
If you are filing an action for child support, be sure to talk with your lawyer about making a claim for retroactive support.