Under New Hampshire law, an order to pay child support is set forth in a document called a Uniform Support Order. The Uniform Support Order (“USO”) will state how much child support the obligor parent must pay, whether the support must be paid to the recipient parent or the State of New Hampshire, and most importantly when the child support order begins. With many courts still suffering from overcrowded dockets and understaffed clerk’s offices, it is not uncommon for a judge to issue a child support order shortly after a hearing, but then have the Order languish in the clerk’s office for several weeks before it is mailed out to the parties or their lawyers. When that occurs, it is quite possible for an obligor to suddenly find that he or she is in several weeks of arrears on child support without even knowing that an arrearage exists.
When submitting a Proposed Uniform Support Order to the Court, a party who expects to pay child support, in order to guard against a potential arrearage should indicate that the effective date of the child support is the date of the clerk’s notice of the decision. That is the date when the clerk officially mails out the Order to the parties. For a party who expects to receive child support, they should indicate that the effective date of the child support should be the date the court signs the Order, which, as stated above, may be several weeks before the clerk issues the Order to the parties.
Andrew J. Piela is a Director at Hamblett & Kerrigan, P.A. Mr. Piela concentrates his practice in civil litigation, family law, probate and land use litigation. You can reach Attorney Piela by e-mail at [email protected].