Once the proper amount of child support is established, the court issues an order requiring the amount of the child support payment going forward. Before a child support order is put in place, the parties can agree on a temporary amount and make voluntary payments amongst themselves and that could be recognized by the court. But if there is no agreement and you are talking about forcing one parent to pay against their wishes, then it would require a court order and that would happen after the case is filed. You engage in some exchange of financial disclosure with the other side and you probably attempt mediation either successfully or not and then you go in front of the judge. You tell the judge that you settled at mediation and make them start paying. Or you tell the judge that you were not able to settle at mediation and that you need a hearing. The judge will give you a child support hearing at that point if needed. It can take some time to receive your first payment. So, in addition to ordering child support be paid going forward, judges can also require that additional child support be paid retroactively to the date support was first requested.
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