Job loss is always a possibility but as COVID-19 has taken a toll on our economy, thousands of people are finding themselves on the unemployment line, suddenly and unexpectedly. Many of those that have managed to keep their jobs during the pandemic are finding their hours cut and their paychecks lessened. Whether you are deemed to be an essential or non-essential worker, your income may not be what it once was and you may be questioning how these new uncertain times impact your obligation to pay your court-ordered child support payments.
The short answer is yes. You must continue to fulfill your obligations under a court-ordered child support order. If you do not make your required payments in full and on-time, you could find yourself held in contempt of court. There is, however, a solution if you are one of the thousands of people who have found your income and ability to pay child support impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the regulations and lockdown policies that came with the coronavirus outbreak.
The Alabama legal system allows you to petition the court for a modification of your child support if there has been a material change in your circumstances since the date of that the child support order was originally entered by the court.
If you can provide documentation that you have been a victim of a coronavirus-related furlough or lay-off, you will likely be able to present facts to the court that provide that your have had a significant change in your income due to circumstances that are beyond your control, namely a global pandemic. That evidence would be presented to the judge at a scheduled hearing.
Because the pandemic has impacted so many people across the state and across the country, many people are working with their child’s other parent to come to an amicable agreement about the decrease or postponement of payments. This is certainly admirable but to protect yourself, you absolutely must have any modification to your child support payment schedule approved by the court. If you and your child’s other parent both agree to a reduction or postponement of child support payments, a voluntary agreement will be usually be approved by the court without a formal judicial hearing.
At Agricola Law, we understand that the global outbreak of a pandemic is something none of us have faced and that it is causing unimaginable stresses and strains on families. We want to help you. Please reach out to one of our attorneys at 334-759-7557 to discuss ways in which we may be able to help your family during these historically difficult times.