With all the layoffs, furloughs and unemployment accompanying the Covid-19 pandemic, many divorced couples are wondering how this impacts child support obligations. Are existing child support orders still enforceable? Can you change them if your employment situation is up in the air?
Generally speaking, the Courts hold that child support must still be paid even if the payers lose their jobs. However, parents can go to Court to modify existing orders. At the proceedings, they must be able to show a substantial change of circumstances. Specifically, the person seeking the change has to prove that the change in the parties' financial situations is both substantial and continuing, in other words, not just a temporary setback.
Of course, the Court processes used to make these changes move slowly, especially now with the Covid-19 delays clogging the system. At Westfield Mediation, LLC, we suggest to our post-divorce mediation clients that they can work out an interim arrangement between themselves while they wait to make it official. Similarly, if your child support plan was based on your child living away at college, and now he/she is living at home, you can work together to create a plan in mediation to account for your differing expenses in the short term. Divorce mediation and post-divorce mediation can be done relatively quickly allowing you to make the adjustments together now that will take longer to process in Court.