The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread unemployment, as companies all over the country are forced to lay off employees in order to deal with a stunning and unprecedented blow to the economy. If you’re a divorced parent who suddenly finds themselves unable to continue making the child support payments your custody agreement outlines, then you may be wondering what your options are to reduce your payment. An Irvine child support lawyer can help you modify your existing agreement so that you can better manage your adjusted income.
Child support in California is calculated by assessing each parent’s income, how much time each parent spends with the child, and whether either parent receives significant tax deductions. However, the court also recognizes that sometimes circumstances change, and these initial agreements must be modified in order to address those changes. As such, it’s possible to petition the court for a modification of child support payments if you’re experiencing a job loss or otherwise adjusted income.
Steps to Take to Modify Your Child Support Payments
Notably, you must continue making your child support payments even if your source of income is interrupted. If you fail to make your child support payments, those payments will be classified as in arrears and they will build up into money owed that might then become harder to pay back. Instead, if you would like to petition the court for a modification of child support payment, it is best to seek counsel from an Irvine child support lawyer immediately and begin the process.
You may be wondering whether it is necessary to take this matter to the court when it might be possible to simply have a conversation with your former spouse and reach an informal agreement to lower or altogether stop child support payments until your financial situation stabilizes. Unfortunately, while this may seem like a quicker and easier approach, any agreement you come to with your former spouse will not be legally binding unless there is a court order approving the modification of your child support agreement. In the event that something were to go wrong with your former spouse, now or even later down the line, they can petition the court to recover those unpaid support payments, which will likely become even more costly if it turns into a legal battle. As such, it’s advised that you avoid making a deal with your spouse and modify your payments through the court.
Work with an Irvine Child Support Lawyer If You’re Interested in Modifying Your Child Support Agreement
Being laid off or losing your job is stressful, and in the midst of a global recession spurred by an unprecedented pandemic, matters can be even worse. You may not be able to find a job that pays as well or has the same benefits until COVID-19 is officially under control. Having an Irvine child support lawyer on your side who can argue for lower payments on your behalf will be helpful in ensuring you keep your financial situation under control. Contact our offices if you’re experiencing hardship or simply feel a change in payments would be better for the whole family.