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Can You Reduce Your Child Support Obligation Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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The coronavirus pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of our everyday life. For many divorced parents, the COVID-19 outbreak affected their ability to make child support payments due to the loss of a job, reduced work hours, or lost income.

Does the Coronavirus Pandemic Impact Child Support Payments?

As many divorced parents and families are experiencing significant financial hardship due to the economic fallout from COVID-19, those who pay and receive child support are wondering whether the pandemic will change the support payments.

If either parent asks the court to modify their existing child support order, then yes, their payment or receipt of support may change during the coronavirus pandemic. After Marvel actor Jeremy Renner asked a judge to reduce his child support obligation due to the pandemic and its effects on his income, many obligor parents might follow suit, asking courts to lower their payment.

As reported by The Daily Beast, Renner asked a Los Angeles judge to modify his existing support order with ex-wife, Sonni Pacheco. The Marvel actor requested to reduce his monthly payments for their daughter, Ava, from $30,000 to $11,201, the amount that he believes would closely match her reasonable needs.

Can You Change Your Child Support Order Due to COVID-19?

Many Floridians have been laid off, furloughed, or had their work hours or income reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. A recent report by CNBC said that job losses could hit a staggering 47 million Americans due to the pandemic.

An involuntary decrease of income or loss of employment is considered a valid ground for lowering the amount of child support payments in Florida. Even if you are experiencing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your existing support order will continue to charge at the ordered amount until there is a court order that either modifies or terminates it.

With Florida courts remaining closed except for emergency matters, it might be difficult to modify your child support order during the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, do not delay the filing of a modification request with the help of an Orlando child support attorney.

Modifying Child Support in Florida During the COVID-19 Pandemic

If you have experienced an involuntary and substantial loss of income or lost your job during the coronavirus pandemic, and that loss impacts your ability to pay child support on time or in the court-ordered amount, you should file a petition for modification. A knowledgeable lawyer will help you draft detailed information regarding the impacts on your ability to pay in order to heighten the chances of the court granting the motion.

If you need to reduce or otherwise modify your child support order as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there can be at least two valid grounds for a modification:

  1. An involuntary loss of a job, decrease in income, or mandatory reduction in work hours; and
  2. A substantial change in expenses or the child’s needs (e.g., daycare centers closed during the pandemic).

Contact our Orlando divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee if you wish to modify your child custody obligation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Call at 407-521-7171 for a case review.

Resources:

cnbc.com/2020/04/06/18-companies-hiring-remote-workers-amid-the-coronavirus-pandemic.html

thedailybeast.com/jeremy-renner-wants-to-lower-child-support-payments-due-to-coronavirus-pandemic

https://www.marseelaw.com/florida-could-abolish-the-permanent-alimony-system-once-and-for-all/

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