How to Ensure Continual Child Support Payments When Income is Uncertain
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of economic uncertainty. Businesses are closing, and people are losing their jobs by the millions. Those who still have their jobs may have taken a pay cut, had to take a furlough, or had to reduce their hours. They may be living on less money, or they may just be living under constant anxiety of losing their jobs.
If you are co-parenting, the economic hardship or uncertainty can pose a problem for child support. You may be worried about how you are going to pay your child support, or if you are the one receiving the support, you may be worried about how you are going to make ends meet if your ex stops paying. The best thing you can do is talk to a Glendale family law lawyer about your options to navigate your specific circumstances. But here’s an overview of what might happen in different scenarios:
You Can’t Pay
If you lose your job or have to take a pay cut, you may find it hard to pay your child support. However, you must keep paying it, or you may face penalties. The only way you can stop paying the support (or pay less) is to seek an amendment to your child support order from the court. Unfortunately, many court proceedings are being delayed since courts are either closed or limited during the pandemic.
Do everything you can to make your payments and contact a family law attorney in Tucson to file a motion to amend your order. While you are waiting for your day in court (or a zoom call before a judge), start gathering all the necessary paperwork, such as your unemployment claim, your current paycheck, or your termination paperwork.
You Aren’t Receiving Payments
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do if you aren’t receiving the ordered child support payments except to contact a family law attorney near Glendale and file the appropriate paperwork. You may have to wait awhile to have the case heard in court, as your situation will not be considered an emergency. However, simply sending over official paperwork from an attorney might be compelling enough to your ex to get them to come up with the payment.
While you are waiting for your case to be resolved, keep track of everything. Make note of all the months you did not receive payment or received only partial payment, and keep track of those partial amounts.
The courts may have ground to an annoyingly slow pace, but attorneys and mediators are still available and able to help people resolve their disputes outside of court. Talk to your Glendale family law attorney about Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediation, and other opportunities to reach a resolution about your child support issue.
You may be able to negotiate a temporary adjustment to the support order that gives you (or your co-parent) time to find new employment or to increase income. It is important that the parameters of this agreement are clearly defined so that you can review the order again and adjust it as appropriate so the children get the needed support.
The pandemic has disrupted our lives in numerous ways. Many are experiencing changes in employment that affect their ability to pay child support. If you are one of them – or you are the parent who is not receiving child support because your co-parent had employment changes – talk to a family law lawyer in Tucson about the options for getting an appropriate order (or enforcement) to meet the needs of your children while also recognizing the realities of the changes the pandemic has wrought.
Contact My AZ Lawyers if you need help modifying or enforcing a child support order. Our family law attorneys can help you get the order you need, even if it is a temporary order that reflects the temporary economic circumstances. We can pursue alternate dispute resolution, mediation, or negotiation if you need more immediate relief and cannot wait for the courts to be back at full speed. We serve clients throughout Phoenix, Tucson, Glendale, and Mesa. Call us today to talk with an experienced and committed family law attorney about your needs.
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