The financial impact of the coronavirus is causing trouble for families across the world. Many people lost their jobs, and others had to cut back on their work to support children who are no longer attending school in person.
If your former partner stops paying child support during this time, that unexpected loss of income can create even greater hardship. However, you may have legal options for enforcing the child support arrangement or even recovering backpay for missed payments. If your ex did not properly modify their support payments, they are likely violating the law and at risk of severe consequences.
Each case is different, so anyone struggling with these issues should contact a New Jersey family lawyer to discuss their circumstances.
Modifications of Child Support in the Pandemic
If a person paying child support loses their job, they can seek to modify their support obligations. The courts base support payments on the income of the parties, so significant financial changes may require modifications in support payments.
However, legal modifications are different from simply deciding not to pay, and a pay cut or lost job does not automatically release someone from their support obligations. The owing party must bring the matter up with the court by filing a motion. Stopping payment will likely mean that the person must make up for the past payments in addition to their current obligations.
If either party loses their job and will likely continue to suffer from a loss of income, they should contact a family lawyer right away. Anyone who stopped receiving support payments should also speak to an attorney about recovering the amount that their former spouse owes.
Reporting Missed Child Support Payments
A person who receives child support can report missed payments to the Office of Child Support Services (OCSS), which can hold paying party accountable. If the paying spouse has income, the OCSS can garnish their wages.
Other potential remedies include suspending their driver’s license, professional license, or passport. The authorities can also put liens on the person’s property. If the OCSS fails to act promptly enough, a skilled family attorney can help pursue other possible options.
Unemployment and Child Support during COVID
COVID-19 caused many people to lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Workers around the country are now collecting unemployment payments to cover their expenses. If a person lost their job and receives unemployment checks, they still owe child support that will come out of the unemployment income.
Individuals receiving workers’ compensation benefits also must continue to make their child support payments. The state can garnish the income from either of these sources to cover child support.
Seeking Legal Help for Child Support in the Pandemic
The courts in New Jersey might not be functioning as normal, but they are still able to hold hearings and negotiations through remote video conferences with judges. While the logistics might differ, it is still possible to get important issues resolved.
Individuals may also consult with a New Jersey family law attorney over the phone or video calls rather than in person. It is vital to address these problems right away and use these virtual means to get legal help for child support issues.
Call a New Jersey Attorney to Discuss Child Support in the Pandemic
When a parent relies on child support to provide for their children, a lack of payments can create great hardships. On the other hand, a paying parent who has lost their source of income in the pandemic might struggle to make the payments as required.
The sooner you act in these cases, the better. It might be necessary to modify the payment amounts, but this decision must be made through the proper legal pathways. Speak to a New Jersey family law attorney to learn your options for modifiying child support or recovering missed payments.