Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support During COVID-19

The pandemic has greatly affected everyone in America. With unemployment continuing to rise after six months of stay at home orders; many Americans are struggling to make ends meet. Earlier during the pandemic, many divorce attorneys and mediators noted an increase in separations across the country due to the stressors and added pressure that the pandemic caused. Now, as we continue to handle the effects of the pandemic, many people have questions about alimony, child support, and parenting time

Can You Modify Court Orders Because of the Pandemic?

When modifying court orders; that include child support, many are wondering if it is possible to make necessary changes due to the pandemic. Generally, there are three prerequisites to modifying your orders: 

  • A significant change in circumstances
  • A large change in income by more or less than 15%
  • For a child support change, the current child support order simply has to be different from the current child support guidelines amount.

If you lose your job due to the pandemic; modifying your orders may be necessary. Either to amend child support or to change parenting time. The best decision would be to discuss your specific circumstances with a family law attorney. Lawyers throughout the country have been working with couples seeking divorces and modifications of existing court orders.  Having a lawyer could help you navigate the courts more easily in these unprecedented times.

Can You Change Child Support/Alimony After Losing Your Job

Alimony is either modifiable or nonmodifiable; all depending on your separation agreement or court orders. In the former, either party can seek to modify alimony based on certain circumstances, however, in the latter case, neither party can ever change the alimony agreement. To find out if your alimony payments are modifiable you will need to check with your court judgment or separation agreement. In some cases, there will be exceptions to nonmodifiable orders that outline extreme circumstances including job loss. To modify alimony you will need to work with your lawyer to modify your alimony payments through agreement or court action. 

How Is Custody or Parenting Time Influenced by The Pandemic

Many families are concerned about parenting time during the pandemic especially in cases where separated parents live in different states and active travel bans are in effect. Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic families will likely have to adjust how they handle parenting time. Family courts have always expected parents who share custody to work with empathy and have urged couples to consider setting up “make-up time” if for any reason during the pandemic a child is not able to visit the other parent. If you believe that your visitation rights have been violated, or that you need to block the other parent for your child’s safety, you should contact a family lawyer who can help you modify your parenting time court orders.  

Contact Deirdre Healy For More Information

Deirdre Healy works with couples throughout Massachusetts to help them find peaceful solutions for separation. During this pandemic, she is utilizing online methods to work with her clients and help them modify court orders as needed during the pandemic. For more information please contact Deirdre Healy through our contact form or via email.