Have you recently lost your job? Have you taken a wage reduction? Has your bonus been frozen? If you have existing child support obligations and you have experienced a change in your financial circumstances due to COVID-19 you should seek relief from your child support obligation.
Child support obligations remain fully enforceable unless and until you seek a formal modification of your child support obligation with the Court. Child support in Georgia does not automatically reduce or temporarily suspend if you have lost your job or suffered a loss income. Child support arrears will continue to accrue unless and until you seek a formal modification with the Court.
Filing a modification of child support action can be difficult and you should consult with an attorney to determine the most efficient and cost effective way to achieve your child support reduction. Be prepared with documents proving your loss of income by gathering any information from your employer regarding your wage reduction or termination as this will be useful and critical in negotiating a child support reduction.
If your wage reduction is only temporary, you can still seek a temporary reduction in your child support obligation, so you can have relief for the time period that your salary is reduced.
You can expect to wait 45-60 days before your case will be able to be heard by the courts, and your child support obligations remain in place unless and until you obtain a court order reducing it, so it’s best to act quickly.
Getting a Court Date during Covid-19
Do you have a divorce or child custody case pending before the Courts? Are you having trouble getting a Court Date due to courthouse closures because of Covid-19? Attorneys have been successful in scheduling Zoom Hearings for divorce and child custody cases by contacting the Judges who preside over their cases. Each Judge and county is handling their cases differently, so there is no set policy even within the same county. Oftentimes, an attorney will have to convince a Judge that the divorce case or child custody case is urgent and needs to be heard, and the relationships between judges and attorneys can be helpful in getting cases scheduled for a zoom hearing.
Conducting a hearing via zoom presents unique challenges, and evidence and exhibits have to be pre-marked an e-mailed to the Judge’s staff attorneys in advance in order to be considered. Sitting around and waiting to be assigned a Court Date is not advisable, as you will likely wait a long time. You have to be proactive, and seek the advice of counsel in getting a zoom hearing scheduled as pro se litigants are often not considered for zoom hearings.
Now more than ever, seeking legal counsel is critical if you want your case scheduled for a hearing during the COVID-19 crisis. There is a misperception that court houses are closed and all hearings are postponed. Hearings are being scheduled, but they are being scheduled behind the scenes with attorneys contacting Judges directly and stressing the urgency of their cases and the importance of scheduling a Zoom hearing to get their clients relief.