For many Georgians, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a financial disaster. Jobs disappeared overnight as businesses closed or scaled back. And while the federal relief effort will hopefully help people stay afloat through the crisis, many are currently facing the hard decision of which bills or financial commitments they’ll have to leave unpaid now and into the summer.
Unfortunately, for some, child support will be one of those unpaid commitments. But what if you and your children rely on those payments? How can you ensure that your family will still be taken care of during this challenging time?
The suddenness of the economic shutdown means that many people have been left financially unprepared for this crisis. During this time, it’s best to keep an open, honest dialogue with your child’s parent about his or her current financial situation, ability to pay support and work prospects. Don’t wait until the payer is months behind before taking action.
If you are able to talk constructively with your child’s parent, attempt to work out a payment agreement. Child support should be one of the payer’s first priorities, but it’s important to understand that full payments might not be an option right now. If you agree to a reduction, be sure to set a limit on the length of time that reduced payments are acceptable. Be clear about how much it really takes to support your children, especially if you’ve also lost your job. Keep in mind that some of the typical budget items, like activity fees or even tuition, may need to be kept on hold for now.
After you’ve worked out a plan, be sure to have it reviewed by an attorney.
If you do not communicate with your child’s parent, or if you’re unable to come to a realistic agreement, you’ll also want to speak to a Marietta child support lawyer. Sometimes a third party can make the financial reality of the situation (and legal consequences of complete nonpayment) clear.
If your child’s parent petitions the court for a modification of child support after the judicial emergency has ended, he or she will have to demonstrate an involuntary change in financial circumstances. A COVID-19-related job loss would certainly qualify. While we’ll have to wait and see what actions the Georgia courts take, options would include:
If your child’s parent is late on support payments or expects to be late on future payments, the time to talk to an attorney is now. Working remotely, we’ll be able to figure out an arrangement that works for both parents, takes the reality of today’s economic situation into account and, most importantly, keeps your children secure in this unsettled time.
If your child’s parent is missing court-ordered payments, you need help getting the support your child deserves. The child support attorneys at Bivek, Brubaker & Prescott LLC have years of experience dealing with all types of child support cases. Our goal is to help create and maintain a plan that’s in the best interests of the kids involved. Contact us or call (404) 793-6530 today to speak with one of our highly qualified attorneys.