Many people have faced a job loss or reduction in income due the coronavirus pandemic. In such a case it might be difficult for an ex-spouse paying alimony or a parent sending child support to keep up with their obligation. As these orders are based on the financial circumstances that existed at the time they were entered, modifications are granted when the judge feels it is appropriate.
Whether you’re making or receiving payments, the current economic upheaval might have you wondering about the future of your child support and/or alimony terms. If so, here are some actions that might help you get a handle on the situation:
Evaluate your current order — In most states, the change in circumstances has to be significant to justify modifying an order. Sometimes, the law uses a threshold, such as 15 percent, to define how much a child support rate would have to shift to warrant court action. Judges can look at both parties’ financial situations when determining whether to make a change. By examining existing alimony and child support terms, you can assess if pursuing a modification will be worthwhile.
Discuss an agreement with your ex-spouse — Can you and your ex discuss the current situation and come to an agreement that reflects the changes in your lives? It is important to try to be understanding with each other. When you and your ex can come to an agreement on financial obligations, it saves time and resources. Should the process work, an attorney can prepare and formalize a temporary or permanent modification.
Work with a mediator — If you and your ex-spouse cannot come to an agreement, a qualified family law mediator could provide valuable guidance This neutral third party is trained to help parties overcome obstacles standing in the way of consensus and foster creative solutions to parental disputes.
Whether you need a court order, or just need advice, a knowledgeable family law attorney offers useful counsel. With their assistance, you can assess your current financial situation and make an informed decision about modifying your alimony or child support order, or contesting a change proposed by your former partner.
Long, Claypole & Blakley Law, PLC handles a wide range of family matters, such as modifications to alimony and child support orders. Please call 580-599-0191 or contact the firm online to set up a meeting with a qualified attorney.