As COVID-19 continues to run rampant, parents across the nation are worried about three things: how will they pay for child support, how will they receive their visitation time with their children, and what does this uncertain time mean for their child custody schedule.
More Americans are being laid off or losing wages than ever before due to COVID-19, leaving many worried about how they will afford to pay their bills and even more so, how they will pay their child support payments. Child support payments are calculated based on your income, so when you’re no longer receiving a paycheck, support payments may be impossible to pay. In addition to child support payments, some people have spousal support payments as well. You should never just stop paying your support payments; you risk jail time if you do.
Instead, legally modify the order through the courts. With the help of an experienced family lawyer, you can file for a child support payment agreement modification or a spousal support agreement modification. You should always go through the courts when changing any aspect of your child custody agreement, no matter how well your co-parenting is going. Your ex could tell you that you don’t have to pay child support while you’re out of a job and then once you’re working again, they can take you to court for back pay on support.
If you’re already behind on child support payments, your stimulus check from the government may be used to pay what you owe. This is so that those in lower tax brackets are receiving the support they deserve for their children during this time.
Child Custody and Visitation Rights
If your child was with your ex when government-mandated shelter-in-place orders were put into place, you may wonder when you will see them again. With schools out for the rest of the academic year and many parents out of work or working from home, visitation schedules are up in the air. If either you or your ex is an essential worker, maybe having your child stay with the non-essential parent is the safest option. Be open with your ex and communicate about how you’re feeling or if anyone else in your household is feeling sick.
Parents who cannot see their children right now can still interact with them through social media, online games, video chatting, and other telecommunication platforms. Once the pandemic is over, be open to an agreement that allows the child(ren) to spend extra time with the parent who didn’t see them during the pandemic.
Just as with child visitation, adhering to your custody agreement right now can be impossible. However, separated parents must still follow along with their current custody agreement as closely as possible to prevent being accused of parental alienation. There are no new laws on how custody must be followed due to COVID-19, so just maintain open communication with your ex and file for a child custody agreement modification as soon as you can.
Our Attorneys are Here to Help
Navigating custody and child support alone during this uncertain time can be difficult. We have experienced and knowledgeable family lawyers, waiting to hear your case and fight for your rights. Contact us today.