How COVID-19 is Impacting Child Support Cases
Around the middle of March, American’s lives changed forever. It was around that time that President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Within weeks of the president’s order, people were told to practice social distancing, schools were closed, and non-essential businesses were shut down. In effect, millions of Americans lost their jobs.
As a Floridian, you’ve probably heard about the “Plan for Florida’s Recovery.” Under the Plan, Phase 1 took on effect on May 4, 2020, and Phase 2 is to take effect when Governor DeSantis determines that it is appropriate to continue re-opening businesses after reviewing the data and consulting with state health officials.
Some of the things happening during Phase 1:
- Businesses are being encouraged to provide delivery and pickup options
- Restaurants can offer indoor seating as long as it’s at 50% capacity
- Gyms can start re-opening on May 18 if they incorporate sanitization procedures
- Hair salons and barbershops can open May 11
- Movie theatres still have to remain closed
- People are not required to wear facemasks
- Bars and nightclubs still have to stay closed
As you can see, the above changes in Phase 1 are still restrictive. A lot of businesses are still closed, such as amusement parks and movie theatres. As a result, a lot of people are still out of work. For noncustodial parents who have been impacted by COVID-19, by now a lot of them are having trouble paying their child support payments.
Can’t Pay Child Support Due to COVID-19?
If you can’t pay child support because you recently lost your job, it’s important to understand that unlike credit card companies and mortgage lenders, parents are not getting breaks if they lost their jobs due to COVID-19. If you skip payments, the local child support agency will activate all sorts of tactics to collect, which can make a bad situation much worse.
For example, your driver’s license can be suspended, the funds in your bank can be seized, a lien can be placed on your home, your tax refund can be taken, and your economic stimulus check can be reduced or eliminated fully. If you’re remarried and filed your taxes jointly, your spouse’s economic stimulus payment can be taken to pay your child support arrears.
So, what do you do? In this situation, your only solution is to petition the court promptly for a downward modification. Since child support arrears are not retroactive, the court will not go back to the date you lost your job and adjust what you owe. Your only solution is to get your case going immediately. To get started, contact Albaugh Law Firm today!