Will My Layoff Due to Coronavirus Affect My Alimony and Child Support Payments?

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In these uncertain times, the unemployment rate in America has reached a staggering peak of 14.7%. Similarly, in the State of Florida, the unemployment rate was reported to be 12.9%. Therefore, it is common to be concerned with your financial responsibilities and obligations, especially to your children or former spouse. Failure to meet these obligations can result in civil and criminal penalties. Therefore, it is important to discuss your financial setback with an experienced Orlando Child Support Attorney.

If you have lost your job due to the Coronavirus layoffs and shut downs and are unable to meet your court ordered financial obligations, contact your Orlando Child Support Attorney immediately. The first step would be to file a Petition to Modify the existing support award. To qualify for a modification of an alimony or child support award Florida Statute provides, there must be a substantial, unanticipated and permanent change in circumstances. An involuntary loss of employment or income can be considered appropriate grounds for such a modification.

However, with these uncertain times, it may be difficult to successfully be granted an order of modification. Because there is no timeline available for when employment may be available again or if these changes are permanent in nature, as statute requires, the court may be reluctant to alter an award. Although you will be able to display a substantial change, you may also need to provide the court with evidence of seeking alternative employment to no avail.  Further, you may have difficulty proving there to be a change in expenses for the child. Although in some cases, during this time there are no day care costs, having the child at home every day may result in an increase in daily expenses for food, diapers, or basic necessities. Finally, the court may look to your unemployment benefits to find a source of income to fulfill the obligation. However, this may aid your case as your unemployment benefits will be seen as your source of income and your child support award will be calculated around this new level of income. It is important to employ the assistance of experienced Orlando Child Support Attorney during this process as it can become complicated to prove your case.

Finally, it is critical to file this Petition to Modify as quickly as possible, as the court has discretion to modify the amount of support owed retroactively to the date of filing of the petition. Until you file a petition, you will be obligated for the previously ordered amount, only resulting in an increase in principal amount owed as well as arrearage. Therefore, it is important to contact your Orlando Child Support Attorney immediately. Although in person hearings are suspended, Florida’s filing system is based solely online. Therefore, you can file your petition at any time.

Although the country and state may be in a position of pause, do not hesitate to contact your Orlando Child Support Attorney today to begin your modification case. The courts are still operating and the filing system is still active. Take the steps necessary to protect yourself financially during this time and ensure you are not held civilly or criminally responsible for a coronavirus layoff.

Speaking to an attorney at our Orlando office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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