Given the pandemic, child support is still happening. There have been many financial difficulties for people during these times, and enforcement agencies have been a lot more gracious with the requirements. However, it is still important to note that child support is still an enforceable obligation, and you must still comply with that order.
In our video, 5 More Things to Know About Child Support in Florida, we dive into how your family may be affected.
For now, here are some things to know about child support and how it has been affected by the pandemic.
Modifications are still possible. If you qualify for a modification of child support, it can still happen. Remember that one of the standards to modify child support is a substantial change in your financial situation to where it is permanent in nature. Given everything that's happening, it is questionable whether or not financial changes resulting from unemployment are permanent in nature or temporary. So keep that in mind when deciding to go this route.
Abatement of child support is still possible. There has been a lot of furloughs, layoffs, or other difficult changes in people's employment. If these situations have affected the way you pay child support, you can consider filing for abatement. What this means is, you’re asking the court to pause the enforcement of child support. The courts will then look at your financial situation and consider how to move forward. The other party can decide to agree or not, and they will have a say in having your child support completely or partially abated. Ensure that if you go down this route, you do it in “good faith.” So, in other words, you're not just doing this just to take a couple of months off of child support. You legitimately are experiencing financial hardship where paying child support would be very difficult or impossible. However, make that "good faith" effort to make at least a portion of that child support payment. It's looked at much more favorably with the enforcement agencies and the other parent.
This time has affected all of us, and the court system and enforcement agencies know that. So if you are having difficulty paying your child support obligation or are owed child support, please consider the times we live in. If you need additional time, be honest and reach out. You have the options to abate and modify, but reaching out to these agencies or the other parents, it will allow you more leeway in operating your situation.
Many Florida agencies responsible for child support have been a lot more supportive, where they have been a little more gracious within deadlines. However, you want to make sure you're doing everything you can as promptly as possible. Because even though they’re gracious, there are still some deadlines.
You want to make sure you understand everything that’s being considered. Consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in family law. This can help you navigate these issues and make it a less stressful situation for you.
So if you, or someone you know, are dealing with child support during these difficult times, feel free to contact our office.