Are you having trouble paying your bills and other obligations? If so, you’re not alone. Many people have been left without a job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With businesses being forced to shut down as the government mandates shelter in place and quarantine orders, millions of Americans are left without incomes. In the week ending March 21, 2020, 3.3 million unemployment claims were filed across the nation.
Many Americans are concerned about paying for essentials, such as food, household supplies and rent. Some are also worried because they must also make child support or alimony payments or face penalties. These obligations do not cease in the middle of a worldwide crisis.
How do you handle the fact that you’re unemployed and unable to pay child support or alimony this month and possibly many more months? What if you’re the recipient and your ex-spouse won’t be able to make his or her payments for a while? Here are some tips to help.
If you have recently been laid off or have seen your income reduced, don’t ignore the situation. You still have an obligation to pay child support or alimony, regardless of your income. Therefore, you should contact the court right away to see if you can get your obligation modified or even terminated altogether. Spousal support is often harder to modify. To decide if you can get your child support payments modified, the court has a little more leeway and will determine if it is in the child’s best interest to do so.
In any case, you will need to prove that you have experienced a significant change in income. If you were working 40 hours a week and you are now unemployed, that would be a huge change. Getting your hours reduced from 40 to 20 hours a week, however, might not be enough for a modification.
If the payor has told you that he or she will not be able to make their payments to you, you should advise them to seek a modification. If they refuse to do so, you could hold them in contempt of court, since they are refusing to comply with a court order.
Also, if you have lost your job, but the payor has not, you can request a modification for yourself and ask for additional support during this time. If you are receiving child support payments, this additional money can help ensure you and your children are cared for during this difficult time.
While you may have agreed to pay a certain amount of child support and/or alimony at the time of your divorce, things can change. While many people see their income increase over time, some people experience financial challenges due to job loss, medical issues and other circumstances.
If you are having trouble making court-ordered payments, consider a modification. The Columbia child support attorneys at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can determine if you qualify for one. We have two offices to serve you. Schedule a free consultation today. Call our office at (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form.
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