The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant financial distress for families in California and across the country. No one can predict how long the this will last, which causes a lot of economic uncertainty. If your child support was calculated prior to COVID-19, and your financial picture has changed because of the current state of things, you may need to seek a child support modification.
California family law attorneys know that some people are waiting to see how things play out with Coronavirus before making any financial moves. If your finances have suffered due to this historic time, it may be in your best interest to immediately pursue a child support modification. Keep reading to learn more about the Coronavirus impact on child support matters in California.
How Is Child Support Calculated In California?
- Each spouse’s income
- Custody arrangements and the amount of time a child spends with each parent
- Each parent’s other obligations, such as child support for children from another relationship
Reasons For Child Support Modification
California courts will order support changes for several reasons. Parents may file a request for modification when any circumstances change that would impact the court’s prior order. For example, job loss, a significant increase or decrease in income, remarriage, change in the amount of time spent with each parent, and having a child in another relationship are all changes that courts may consider when deciding support modifications.
How The Pandemic Has Impacted Family Finances And Child Support Matters
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a record spike in unemployment and reduced wages. Even when layoffs are temporary, the impact can be financially devastating. See below for some of the most common reasons for modification requests related to Coronavirus.
- Job loss can happen whether there is a pandemic or not, but COVID-19 has led to a shortage in job opportunities, which means that when a parent loses a job, it may take a long time to find a new job.
- A parent is unable to work because daycares, schools, day camps, and other activities are closed due to the pandemic. When children are young and cannot be left alone, parents may be unable to work because they have to take care of their children.
- Children are spending more time at home due to the above-mentioned closures, and if children are spending a disproportionate amount of time with one parent, a child support modification may be necessary.
- Parents that own businesses that have been and continue to be severely impacted by COVID may need to apply for child support modification because the long-term impacts of the pandemic are unknown and indefinite.
The Importance Of Seeking Child Support Changes As Soon As Possible
As mentioned above, the wait and see approach may not be a good idea when it comes to child support modification and COVID-19. Depending on your case circumstances, you may suffer significant consequences if you do not consult with a family law attorney as soon as possible about child support. Modifications are not retroactive, which means that the court will not make up for the financial distress you suffered before you filed your request.
The court system has a significant backlog of cases, and every legal process is taking longer than it would have taken in the pre-pandemic days. Unfortunately, the outcome of the pandemic is unknown. As long as the uncertainty remains, the court system will continue to be burdened with more court proceedings than it can handle efficiently. Even if you believe that your change in circumstances is only temporary, you can seek a modification now, and ask for another one in the future when circumstances change again.
The Modification Process
In California, you can get child support modification in two ways. One way to secure a change in support is to reach an agreement with your child’s other parent. If the local child support agency is involved in your case, you will need their approval for the agreed-upon changes before filing it with the court. If you and your spouse do not agree to new support terms, you may file a motion to request a modification of support.
California Child Support Modification Attorney
A change in circumstances may be grounds for a child support modification, including those changes caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. If you have experienced financial consequences and increased burdens caused by COVID-19, California family law attorney Bruce A. Mandel can help. He will go over the circumstances of your case and potential legal resolutions.