After A Reduction Of Income, Due To COVID-19, Can I Reduce My Spousal And Child Support?
My income significantly has been reduced, due to COVID-19. Can I reduce my spousal and child support payments?
I do not practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state, but I can provide you with general tips for this sort of issue.
In some jurisdictions, courts are allowing parties, who need to make a request for a reduction in child or spousal support, to proceed with that request simply by serving the unfiled request on the opposing party or their attorney and filing that request at a later date when the courts reopen. Importantly, in the jurisdictions following this emergency rule, you still are required to serve opposing party or opposing party with the filed copy, once the courts reopen and you have access to filing. In this scenario, the effective date of your modification is going to be the date that you served opposing party or opposing counsel.
This means that the decrease in your obligation, if any, may be retroactive to the date you served them with the unfiled copy. This emergency rule is a way for payors of support to put the other party on notice that their financial situation has changed as a result of COVID-19.
Importantly, if you still are able to make the full payments during this time, that is the best course of action to take to ensure that there are no arrear issues when you are able to return to court. In the event that those payments truly are impossible, best practices would be to notify opposing party or opposing counsel of your financial situation as quickly as possible and continue to make partial payments to the best of your ability until you are able to return to court and receive a new, modified order.
It likely is that the court will want to see a true inability to pay and may take a look into your financial records during the time or partial or nonpayment, so it is imperative that responsible and reasonable spending is reflected during a time when you have informed the other party that you cannot afford support.