Can Alimony and Child Support be Affected by the Pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused many problems for many people. Businesses closed, jobs were put on hold or terminated, and many people wondered how they were going to pay their mortgage or rent and other expenses. While foreclosures and evictions were put on hold temporarily, there was no pause in alimony or child support orders.
When your order to pay alimony or child support is issued, it remains in effect until the termination date or the court agrees to modify the order. If your financial circumstances change for any reason, you are still expected to pay the support until you obtain a modification from Florida family courts.
If you stop paying alimony or child support, the recipient can take action to enforce the order, and you could face costly consequences. You should discuss an inability to make your payments with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.
Support Order Modifications
News reports indicate that Marvel actor Jeremy Renner requested that a court lower his child support obligations once the pandemic hit. The petition reportedly stated that his upcoming projects have been canceled or indefinitely put on hold, so he expects his income to be significantly reduced, especially since his major superhero movie series has ended. He requested the court to reduce his monthly support payments from $30,000 to $11,200.
While most people are not paying tens of thousands of dollars a month in spousal or child support, the pandemic has certainly made it difficult for many people to keep up with payments. There are different circumstances in which you might be able to obtain a modification, including:
- You involuntarily lost your job
- Your hours or income were significantly reduced for the long-term
- Closure of a business you are employed by
If you were out of work for a couple of weeks but are now back to work as usual, it is unlikely to justify a modification, as the circumstances were temporary. Similarly, you likely will not get an order modified if you voluntarily stopped working due to coronavirus concerns, since modifications are granted for unanticipated and involuntary changes in your financial situation. Discuss your specific situation with a qualified attorney.
Enforcing Support Orders
If you should be receiving spousal or child support and the payments stopped due to the pandemic, it can cause serious financial hardship for you. Many ex-spouses and parents cannot cover their expenses without their support payments, and the support should not stop without permission from the court. You should discuss ways to enforce your support order with an experienced family lawyer.
Contact an Experienced Brandon Alimony and Child Support Attorney for Help
The recent months have been difficult for many people in the Brandon area. Whether you are having trouble paying support or you have stopped receiving support, the law firm of Carman, Bevington & Finegan, P.A., can help. Call 813-654-3444 or contact us online to learn about the services of our Brandon child support and alimony lawyers today.