The current pandemic has changed our everyday lives. Businesses, offices, and schools are shut down. Children are staying at home with their parents. We are all struggling with the stresses of medical care, where and how to get by financially, and how to obtain food, even tissue paper. Most importantly, we are all anxious and terrified of contracting the virus – because it is real, and now we know it, judging from the number of infected and dead across the world.
Everyone is confronted with the challenge of adapting to the new normal, without being aware when it will exactly end. This adjustment becomes more difficult for people who have lost their jobs and consequently lost their income, their way of sustaining their families. If you are among those who are presently giving child support and your income has been severely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, this article may be for you.
Below is a list of steps that you can take immediately regarding your child support order.
As you may already be aware, child support order is based on the money you earn as income when the order was established. The court or the lawyers considered a lot of factors before identifying the appropriate amount of support. This amount may be changed upon request from the court or as agreed by both parties if ever your income changes. Hence, if you have lost a large amount of your income to the effects of COVID-19, you have an opportunity to consider filing for a change of your support order.
It is also important to note that even though a lot of courts have closed or may have limited access due to the pandemic, time is also significant in filing for a change in the details of the support order. Courts have been forced to cancel scheduled events and hearings, and there are new events allowed. They are only permitted to hear emergency cases, like custody entailing endangerment or a child or if someone needs to file for an abuse order. Although a change in the support order is not said to be an emergency case during this time, courts do accept modifications.
This is significant because if you file for modification now, you are keeping the previous date for the modification to take effect once the case has been listed and changed by the court. Hence, once your order is modified, the total amount of support can be lowered if you file now rather than later.
If you are uncertain about what to do after you have lost your job or your income because of this global crisis, a competent family lawyer is capable of advising and guiding you during this depressing time.
Generally, most courts often change their procedures to abide by government policies and orders. If you are paying support now, ensure that you talk about your concerns with the lawyer and be informed about the qualifications for decreased support. This might provide you with some insight and help you feel relieved for the time being. It will also save you money in the long term and consequently put you in a better place when the courts open again, and our lives go back to normal, or better yet start adapting to the new normal.
Since the pandemic, which has been three months, family law attorneys have often been inquired about the issue of whether or not a parent should allow the other parent to spend time with their kid if he is not following the social distancing and other health and safety measures instructed by the government. As a general rule, parents must continuously abide by the court order given to them. Or else, they might be filed for contempt of court. On the other hand, exemptions can be done, and specific situations are assessed on a case-to-case basis. For this concern, again, it is advisable to consult a family law attorney.