A pandemic can bring about feelings of panic and wondering what's going to come next. It's an uncertain time, and many people will be out of work because of self-isolation and quarantine measures. What happens if you have a child that receives support payments but your ex-spouse says they can't pay due to being laid off? Do they still have to pay child support?
Here is some information you need to know about child support during a pandemic.
Payments Need To Be Made
Child support payments still need to be made during a pandemic. They are governed by the courts and can't be changed easily or without the approval of a judge. While you can apply to the courts through a lawyer to have child support payments changed during a pandemic, the courts are likely closed except for the most important cases at this time.
Payments still need to be made unless the paying spouse has received some sort of deferral order. If child support payments aren't made, penalties and even jail time could be possible.
Communicate With Each Other
If your ex-spouse can't pay child support because they were laid off, or you are the parent who pays child support and can't pay it at this time, it's important to communicate with your ex-spouse honestly. The situation needs to be explained in detail and you both need to sit down and decide your next steps together.
If possible, try to work out an agreement for the time being in which either the payments are lowered for the duration of the pandemic or deferred until payments can be made again. Document all conversations during this time and if possible, obtain proof of the inability to pay at this time.
Seek Alternate Employment Or Funding
While many jobs will not be hiring or even active at this time, certain sectors will still be operating. Many large companies will hire more employees to handle the extra workload due to high volumes of product orders.
The child support paying parent should look into seeking alternate employment for the time being. It's possible to find temporary positions in food distribution or at the grocery store level. Delivery and even some manufacturing jobs will most likely still be hiring.
There is also funding available during a pandemic in many cases geared toward those who are laid off or have lost their jobs during an emergency. These funds could be government assistance, charitable organizations, or even loans from banks or friends and family as a last resort.
Make A Payment Effort
While it's not easy to make payments while laid off or unemployed, you both should arrange for at least a partial payment of child support during this time. If you do go back to court to enforce back payments after the pandemic is over, the courts will take into account that the support paying parent did attempt to keep payments going and at least paid a partial payment.
To learn more, contact a child support attorney in your area like Dawn M Ogrodny PC.