The COVID-19 pandemic is seemly turning everyone’s life upside down. Some people are losing their jobs, some are working fewer hours and non-essential are being made to close. The one thing that is not changing is the need for child support payments. While the government has made announcements about evictions and a deferral of taxes, nothing so far has been said about child support.
If there is a court order to make child support payments, unless and until you have changes made to the, you must follow the terms of your order. COVID-19 does not automatically excuse or justify a deferral or refusal to pay child support.
So what should a parent do if they are suffering financially as a result of COVID-19 and has an ongoing child support obligation? Here are some tips.
Contact the recipient and give them a heads-up immediately! In the current times, communication is key. Even if you do not communicate with the opposing party on a regular basis, let them know you are facing a difficult time and cannot full payment. By not saying anything you could be surprising the recipient which can cause far more harm and distress. Less notice means less time to organize a safety net and make other arrangements. Having the difficult conversation early could help resolve potential issues later on.
If you cannot make your support payments, there is a difference between making no payment versus paying a portion of what is due. Try to make some payments towards child support. Making a portion of the payment shows you are being reasonable and understand your obligation. Work out a payment schedule with the recipient first and then advise the Family Responsibility Office that you are unable to pay the full amount on a temporary basis.
Document your communication with the recipient to show your effort. If you do reach a temporary arrangement, make sure you confirm it in writing.
Keep a careful track of your budget during COVID-19 showing your income, expenses, and who you have to pay. If you have savings, you should attempt to make the full child support payment. Remember children you support are dependent on your money, so their needs will be deemed high-priority.
Keep the lines of communication open. The situation we are in is changing rapidly. Don’t send one text and sit back. If you are able to make a payment next month, let the recipient know as soon as possible.
My focus on family law helps my clients navigate the emotional and financial challenges a family law matter can present. Hussain Law remains fully operational and has various new technologies that allow me to continue to advise clients seamlessly during this time. If you have a family law issue that you need assistance with, please contact Ayesha Hussain at 647-428-3919 .