Question: If I am laid off or receive unemployment, does the amount of child support I pay change automatically?
Generally, no. If there is a valid child support order in place concerning your child, that order will remain in place until modified or it expires. While many people are experiencing a dramatic loss in income during the Covid-19 pandemic, the only way to ensure you do not get behind in child support based on lost wages is to seek a modification.
Due to health concerns, many counties have limited court access based on recommendations of the Office of Court Administration. What this means for most people is that until restrictions are lifted, no court can hear matters unless they are designated as “Essential.” Each county has designated certain matters as essential; though, child support matters are not, generally, on that list. However, if a financial hardship is occurring that does impact your child’s wellbeing, courts can make exceptions.
Something to remember throughout the pandemic is that if your future is uncertain as to employment or job opportunity, in a modification suit, child support can be modified to the date of service of the citation of the suit. Meaning, if a suit to modify child support is filed, even with the courts closed, the court does have the ability to back-date lower support payments to the date of the suit being served on the other party.
Because of the complexities that can arise in a child support action, it is important to speak to an attorney concerning your next steps. Duffee + Eitzen, LLP has attorneys of many experience levels and price points to suit the needs of all clients. Feel free to give us a call or email us directly with your concerns.