Modify Child Support Because of COVID-19

Just a couple months ago, our economy was strong, unemployment was low, and small businesses were excited about the future. But by April 1, 2020, all of that changed due to the novel coronavirus, otherwise known as “COVID-19.”

Within a few short weeks, retail stores, movie theatres, gyms and health clubs, amusement parks, and all other “non-essential businesses” were systematically shut down due to state public health departments’ orders. As a result, millions of people were out of work just like that. Every day that goes by where people are ordered to stay indoors, the financial burdens get heavier and heavier for people, many of whom are obligated to pay child support.

Certain Jobs Are Hit the Hardest

Before the coronavirus arrived in the United States, millions who worked as servers, bartenders, massage therapists, hairdressers, bouncers, retail clerks, travel agents, hospitality workers, amusement park staff, caterers, etc. made a decent living and provided for their families, but once the coronavirus led to public health departments shutting down businesses, countless people watched their income disappear.

But the retail, dining, travel, and service industries weren’t the only ones impacted. There are previously successful franchise and small business owners who suddenly found their incomes come to a grinding halt. In virtually every class (low, middle, and upper), people are feeling the sting from the coronavirus and its spilling over into family law matters, namely child support.

Can’t Afford Your Child Support?

Has your monthly income been directly impacted by COVID-19? If you’re having trouble affording your monthly child support payments, the worst thing to do is nothing. If you skip payments, child enforcement actions will be taken against you, such as:

  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Business and professional license suspension
  • Suspension of your recreational licenses
  • U.S. passport denial
  • Seizure of funds in bank accounts
  • Negative credit reporting
  • Real estate liens, including your home
  • Tax refund intercept

Child support is NOT retroactive and a judge cannot go back to the date you lost your job and reduce what you owe. Because of this, it’s critical that you ask the court for a downward modification as soon as possible. Additionally, a parent’s obligation to pay child support does not change because of unemployment, underemployment, disability, mental illness, or incarceration. The only thing that can end a parent’s child support obligation is the loss of parental rights.

To learn more about modifying your child support payments, we invite you to contact Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C.