The COVID-19 pandemic brought the global economy to its knees. Many individuals across the United States are now out of work and struggling to survive as many businesses close or lay off their staff. As a result, those who have child support obligations or rely on child support to care for their children are experiencing some major financial difficulties. Even for those who already received a stimulus check, it is likely not enough to cover their monthly expenses. Given how unique these circumstances are, many are unclear on what steps they can take to ease their struggle.
If only one party is struggling, you may want to consider having a discussion about temporarily reducing or increasing child support, depending on what is necessary. You will still require court approval, but your ability to agree on this matter will make the situation easier for everyone involved.
If you and your former spouse cannot reach an agreement regarding a temporary change of child support, you must request a modification. Generally, under normal circumstances, child support may be modified if there is a substantial change of circumstances, such as a change in income by 15% or more. You may also petition the court for a modification if three or more years elapsed since the last support order was issued.
Although it is unlikely you will receive a permanent modification to your child support order, the court will likely grant a temporary change to relieve the financial strains you are experiencing at this time. If your former spouse is not experiencing any financial hardship and you lost your job due to the pandemic, it may even be possible to request a temporary increase in child support. Whatever your needs may be, you must file the papers as soon as possible. Even if it takes some time before your case is reviewed, the modification may be granted retroactively to the date when it was filed.
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