Whether you are the payor or the recipient of a child support order, the pandemic has likely affected your financial situation. Perhaps you are receiving less child support than usual and are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Maybe you have an order to pay more money than you have available to you because your paycheck has been cut or terminated. In either case, your budget is stretched and you are incredibly stressed about it. There are solutions you can find in this time of crisis.
What Are Your Circumstances?
Unemployment in Massachusetts and in other states in the U.S. is slated to reach the highest percentage in over fifty years. Whether your hours at work have been cut, you are collecting unemployment, or your work has been terminated and you are unable to collect, chances are the courts will be sympathetic to your plight.
If you are the payor:
It is less likely during these troubled times that a Judge will find you in contempt for underpaying your obligated support. That said, it is expected that you pay what you can. You should always pay something.
If you are the recipient:
You may need more support if your paycheck has been cut and you are the parent who receives court-ordered support.
What Steps Should I take?
While the courts are hearing only emergency cases it is extremely difficult to file for a modification of your court-ordered support and receive a hearing date. As such, it is important to follow some common-sense guidelines, in order for you to be viewed as having done what is reasonable under these circumstances:
- Be decent, kind and compassionate when corresponding with the other parent
- Make sure you are completely honest about what is happening with your income and what you expect will happen in the near future
- Commit to paying what you can to support your children (if you are the payor) and follow through on a consistent basis
- Ask the other parent if there is anything else you can do (besides the payment of money) that they might consider helpful
Mediation is Your Best Alternative for Success
If you are unable to come to terms with one another about what amount of support is reasonable and fair, you have the opportunity to engage in virtual divorce mediation services through Zoom conference calls in order to reach an agreement. At Fraier & Maillet, P.C. we will guide you in your negotiations and will run the child support guidelines for you, utilizing the new income numbers you are facing, whether they are temporary or permanent. Mediation is the quickest, easiest and least expensive solution to your financial difficulties.
Learn more about our virtual divorce mediation services we offer in response to COVID-19.