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“Do what’s right for yourself. Do what’s right for your children. File the petition really early so that you have a good claim, and then things will work out for you.”
If you’re unemployed or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what are your options for modifying child support due to coronavirus job loss? What can you do if the courthouses are closed?
Chaim Steinberger is a family law attorney with Chaim Steinberger, P.C, based in New York. In this video, he explains what you need to do as soon as you experience a change in financial circumstances that might affect your ability to pay child support.
To learn more, contact the attorney directly by calling 888-981-0039 or by submitting a contact form on this page.
There are many situations in which it might be necessary to modify child support payments, including situations in which an employee is laid-off or furloughed. This is particularly pertinent with the recent COVID-19 pandemic causing many workers to lose their jobs.
The most important thing to remember for any non-custodial parent is to immediately apply at the courthouse for child support modification. Child support that is not paid during unemployment accrues, increasing exponentially with the more time that a non-custodial parent spends out of work. In New York, once that child support has been approved, it cannot be waived. This is why it is important to file a petition for a child support modification immediately after losing a job, even if you expect to be back in work soon. The worst that could happen is that you file a child support modification petition, get a new job, and then have to withdraw the petition. Filing for a modification as soon as possible after an income change is paramount to protecting yourself from irreparable financial damage. It can take several months or even years for the modification to be approved, but would then be applied beginning at the date in which the petition was filed.
While there isn’t much a judge can do for someone seeking a child support modification with courts closed at the moment, Steinberger recommends mailing in a modification petition. Even if it is marked “return to sender” and returned to you, it will have a timestamp which can later be shown in court to prove that an attempt at modification was attempted. This may help a decision be made to take effect retroactively from the date when the petition was attempted to be filed. It’s also a good idea to notify the custodial parent of the impending possible child support modification and present proof of this in court as well.
After losing a job, it is important to look for a job that is commensurate with your former job. It can also be very useful to keep a record of every job you apply for, including the date on which you applied for the job. If the search for commensurate employment does not appear to be fruitful, start looking for lesser work and keep in mind that it may only be temporary.
It is essential that you can prove to a court that you have been willing to work and that your lack of income is not voluntary. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for non-custodial parents to suddenly “lose” their jobs when it comes time to begin paying child support. Steinberger reminds non-custodial parents that in order to be eligible for a child support modification, the job loss must be involuntary. He also reminds individuals considering or going through divorce that you do not have to be angry with your spouse to have a successful divorce; in fact, acting with mutual care for each other is more likely to result in positive outcomes for both parties. Attempting to outsmart the other party generally results in unnecessary pain and damage to both parties, including in regard to child support.
To learn more, contact Chaim Steinberger directly by calling 888-981-0039 or by submitting a contact form on this page.
Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
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