Paying Child Support During The Coronavirus

Child Support

There is no doubt that virtually everyone has been affected in some way by the Coronavirus. Millions of people have become ill, lost their jobs, and some have lost their lives. If you are going through or have gone through a divorce and you have court-ordered child support payments, you may think that losing your job or becoming ill and quarantined excuses you from meeting your obligation. This assumption is very wrong.

What can you do?

The first thing you should do is contact your attorney. Have them file a petition to modify or terminate your child support payments temporarily. It is very rare for the courts to terminate your child support payments.

Taking care of your children is always the top priority. If you are laid off or your company has shut down, the court assumes you will receive unemployment insurance. While this will not be as much as your salary, it is considered part of your income when the judge makes the adjustment on your payment. Further, the court understands that you are shocked at the loss of your job. However, they assume that you can take some kind of a job which will pay at least minimum wage and allow you to work 40-hours per week. Based on that assumption, they will often adjust your child support obligation according to that assumption.

Making changes

During the pandemic, Congress is protecting people from being evicted when your rent or house payments get behind. Unemployment is passing on stimulus payments as they come in. The government is helping people with food assistance. Many places are not turning off electricity or water for customers who cannot pay during the crisis.

It may become necessary to select what you will and will not be able to pay. Child-support is a priority. Bills that you are temporarily protected from paying should be the ones pushed to the back-burner. Until you have gotten your court order revised, do everything in your power to keep your payments current.

Stimulus Checks

Many people believe the $1200 stimulus payments are not part of their income and they do not have to pay their back-child support from them. This is incorrect. If you are behind in your payments, the IRS can and usually will take your stimulus check, just as they would take any tax refunds, and send it to your ex-spouse to help catch you up. If you do not owe the entire $1200, you will get a reduced check and it probably will take a while.

Do I have to tell my ex that I lost my job?

Regardless of why or how you have lost your job, you need to report it to your child support agency within 10-days. You will probably have to go back to court to have your payments adjusted, so it is a good idea to contact your attorney.

Your divorce papers will tell you if you are ordered to advise your ex-spouse if you have had a change in employment. If it is not in your papers then you don’t have to tell them. However, it is always a good idea to keep a good relationship with the other parent of your children. Being civil and respectful of each other will make it much easier to face these problems. If that is not possible, speak to your attorney and make your decision accordingly.

You are not alone. COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of millions of people all over the world.

It is a stressful time and families are making hard choices. Everyone is experiencing the same issues. We are all watching our money closely, being less wasteful, and making special arrangements for the education and care of our children. The best way to survive this difficult time is to work together, We do not know how long this will go on. We do not know what challenges lie ahead. But, we know there is more to come. Now is the time to remember that we all want the same thing. We want strong families with healthy and happy children. It will take more than a pandemic to stop us. Because our kids are worth the battle.

How COVID-19 could be affecting family law orders

family law

The crisis over the Novel Coronavirus has changed our everyday lives and continues to constantly reshape the world. Lawyers is here to answer your questions about how COVID-19 could affect your family law case in this period of unprecedented uncertainty.

After declaring a state medical emergency, Australia is suffering due to Coronavirus with several issues, and family law orders are among them.

What are COVID-19’s impacts on family law orders?

We see a lot of people trying to fix similar issues, to see what is and what isn’t. We want to pass on the best of these ideas to you in these turbulent times and educate you on the recent developments impacting clients in family law, including trials, parental practices, property settlements, family abuse, and other topics.

  • Family law courts:

The federal government is committed to keeping the family law courts open at this time, with substantive improvements to the administration of justice and the government’s health and safety standards. Efforts require using the telecommunications technologies for both administrative, transitional, and divorce proceedings to be held in this manner.

Digital technology is used for conferences including Child Inclusive Conferences, Interviews with Family Reports, and Alternative Dispute Resolution. In those cases where court attendance is considered appropriate, then the court is stunning start times during the day and allowing at the same time no more than eight people in court space.

We are keeping up with the constantly changing rules and orders provided by the Federal Court and the Family Court.

We tend to use the Court as a final resort, as usual. We tend to resolve conflicts by arbitration, mediation, and settlement of family disputes.

  • Existing parental orders:

Orders under the Family Law Act remain in full force. Thanks to school holidays beginning early, there are problems for parents as well as schools potentially not returning to normal in two weeks.

Alternative education is likely to be the new standard for the future in the near term at least. Parents may have different attitudes regarding topics such as ‘social distancing’ and adequate hygiene and home school.

Standard places for the changeover may be closed. Any neighbouring states and territories are locked. Many problems can occur because the actual situations when orders were made could not have been foreseen.

Parents may consider refusing to comply with an order because of their belief that the other parent may not provide sufficient care for the child’s health or education, or because they suspect that the child may be unwell or contagious and should, therefore, be held away from the other parent.

Under extremely limited cases, a party may have only a rational justification to contravene a court order and severe consequences can follow. If you consider departing from a court order, or if the other party insists on departing from an order, you should get legal advice.

When ordinary parenting practices cannot be sustained or need to be modified, then those things should be conveyed to the other parent with the child’s best interests being the focus. In these extraordinary times contact and compassion will be more critical than ever.

It is generally not easy to deal with a family law problem, whether it is divorce, custody or support, and it certainly becomes much more complicated in the face of a pandemic that has changed life suddenly as we know it.

  • Family abuse and the courts of judges:

All courts remain open. With greater instability, economic strains, and couples spending more time together with more constraints and less routine, it is expected and police are being prepared for a rise in family violence cases.

The courts consider new proposals a priority and postpone temporary trials. Such amendments can have major impacts on both Applicants and Respondents, including forbidding those Respondents to reach their normal home and touch or be close to family members listed in orders. Current directives remain in place with full force.

  • Estate settlements:

A deal that was considered ‘right and equitable’ yesterday might not be so today in the latest negotiations. Business prices, shares, real estate, and superannuation are shifting rapidly, and work is less safe in many fields.

Childcare responsibilities can change in some families. Recent valuation estimates based on financials from last year (or months) can no longer be reliable. Superannuation is likely to respond to volatility in the markets. There are ways to split superannuation that are likely to yield a more fair and equal result.

  • Court Access Limitation:

Although most clients don’t like the thought of going to court to deal with their family law issues, realizing that they still have that choice if they can’t otherwise fix their problems is assuring. Additionally, there are others who for some time have expected scheduled court dates and are now hearing that these court dates are being delayed due to temporary court closures. However, there is hope that any current court delays will be short-lived and, once the courts reopen, they will certainly do their utmost to reschedule matters as soon as possible.

The government is taking strict measures, keeping precautions in mind. Jury trials were conducted in both national and state courts until the pandemic COVID-19 perished. In a few instances, video conferencing is often used for pretrial hearings and other meetings. It’s not as straightforward as a jury in court, however, but these kinds of issues happen to full formalities today.


Author Bio:

Dan Buckley serves as a Legal Partner of Best Wilson Buckley Family Law and is preferred among the best Family Lawyers in Brisbane. He is appreciated not just for his legal expertise, but also for his ability to assist clients with critical decisions regarding their children and their financial interests.

How Divorced Parents Handle Custody and Coronavirus


Parents around the U.S. are advised to practice social distancing, avoiding travel and grouping social conditions to help lower the chances of Coronavirus catching and spreading. But determining whether to deal with COVID-19 based quarantines can be difficult for parents who are separated and transfer their kids between two households as part of a custody agreement.

When millions of people around the world practice social isolation and self-quarantine, they isolate themselves from all of their immediate family members. Nevertheless, the concept of “immediate family” is not clear for divorced or separated parents who share custody of their children.

Under normal circumstances, co-parenting is full of challenges. It is twice as difficult to try to maintain a stable family relationship with your ex during a global pandemic.

Below are some tips on how to co-parent during this global health crisis

  1. Be flexible

Many parents are out of work, some work at home and others in fields such as health care and other essential services face long, erratic hours. With all this upheaval, it’s really important to play nice with your ex.

If you are living with a high-conflict partner who wants clear boundaries and laws, the name of the game during the COVID-19 pandemic is compromised and working together for the wellbeing of the children and your own safety.

Most of the children still feel nervous and anxious. Getting their parent’s problem-solving and becoming a cohesive team would make all the difference with the way they’re moving through this crisis.

  1. Be prepared to modify child support in the cases of a job loss

Many parents are currently making child support modifications due to widespread job loss. If this is something you like to do, have some formal arrangement with your ex.

When you are unable to agree, consider filing a petition with the court to maintain the right to change the amount of compensation you are paying back to the date your income reached.

If you need to have this discussion with your ex, approach it as compassionately as possible.

  1. Think twice before sending the fiery message

Maybe don’t send the angry text about the trip that your ex took right before your condition got worse. Think about how you say statements, how they are going to be interpreted, how they are going to be preserved for future litigation.

Regardless of how right you are, the other person is suffering too. We all do. Fear of the unknown creates tension and now is the time that you could use your support and reassurance to the person you want to have a child with.

  1. Get the custody arrangement modified in writing

Since so many working lives are upended, some exes agree to terms that are somewhat different from those set out in their custody agreements. When you are changing your custody agreement, consider getting it in writing, particularly when you think your ex would benefit from the parenting plan that has been updated since the outbreak.

  1. When you and your ex are at odds about who has the children. Then follow your court orders. But if one parent is allowed to have COVID-19, then behave fairly

Don’t risk the children being subjected to COVID-19 just to follow the custody plan. If you and your children are exposed to the virus, be vigilant with your husband, share the details and, if possible, keep the children until you are certain they are not sick or carriers.

  1. Be Generous

Try to give the parent that missed out makeup time, if at all possible. Family law judges require fair compromise where it is practicable to do so and should consider seriously the questions posed in future complaints regarding parents who are unyielding in highly rare situations.

  1. Be Creative

Around the same time, it will be foolish to think that nothing would change when people are told not to travel and to shutter holiday destinations like theme parks, museums and movie centers around the world.

Additionally, some parents will have to work additional hours to help cope with the crisis and other parents may be out of work or work for a while. Plans always need to adjust. Encourage closeness to the adult who does not see the infant by mutual books, videos, sports, or Skype.


About Author: 

At Smoak Law, P.C., our Family Law Lawyer in Salt Lake City insists on the specific interests of each of our clients while presenting a family law situation. The choices taken in our law offices will impact the rest of your life, so it’s vital to our family law firm that we find the best result possible for your full family law requirements.

Our divorce attorney in Salt Lake City will lead the way by offering the legal advice you need to push your new life forward.