What Can You Do If You Can't Pay Child Support Because Of COVID-19?

Posted on: 3 November 2020

With COVID-19 shutting down the economy, many people are struggling to maintain their income or even to find work. This can in turn make it difficult or impossible to pay your child support. Here's what you can do.

Know How Child Support Works

The first thing you should do is to make sure you understand how child support works. It isn't just a number that a judge picks that is set in stone forever. It's based on your income, your ex-spouse's income, and your child's needs. Typically, child support is based on a percentage of the two parent's combined income adjusted for how much time each parent spends with the child.

For example, if you both make the same amount of money and your child lives with you for exactly half of the time, there is no child support because you each make the same amount of money. If one of you makes more than the other and/or spends less time with the child, that parent would generally pay more to even out the expenses.

Any time either parent's income changes, you can apply to adjust the child support payments. So if you've lost income due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to have your child support modified.

You Need to Try to Find Work

If you lost your job, you have a legal obligation to find work so that you can pay child support. For example, say you worked in the cruise industry. You can't simply wait for it to reopen. You need to find another job and pay child support based on that. The judge will ask you what you're doing to try to find work, and you'll need to show that what you're doing will result in you being able to better support your child.

If You Owe Back Child Support

If you missed child support payments, it's important to take care of them as quickly as possible to avoid legal consequences that could even include jail time. The best thing to do is to pay in full. If you can't, you may be eligible for a payment plan. To get on a payment plan, you'll need to prove that COVID-19 caused you economic hardship. You'll also need to show what you're doing to be able to return to work and get caught up on your payments.

To learn more about what to do if you can't pay child support because of COVID-19, contact a local family law attorney today.


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