Unemployment, Child Support, and Spousal Maintenance during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has already had significant negative implications on our economy, and it may be quite some time before we are able to bounce back to business as usual.

Many individuals and families have or are facing layoffs, reduced hours, or pay cuts. Businesses are struggling to stay afloat and support their employees. Unemployment rates are skyrocketing.

It is a financially trying time for nearly all of us. While many government and credit agencies are putting holds on evictions and debt payments, one question has come to our attention over and over:

How does the coronavirus pandemic and financial crisis affect

Child Support and Spousal Maintenance payments?

  • Child Support and Spousal Maintenance are considered “priority payments.” Unlike student loans, credit card debts, or rent payments, Child Support and Alimony are enforceable regardless of the state of the economy. Late payments and arrearages will accrue interest. If you owe Child Support or Spousal Maintenance each month, do your best to try to continue to pay it.
  • Child Support and Spousal Maintenance are enforceable until they are modified. If your financial circumstances have changed you can move to modify your Child Support or Spousal Maintenance. Modification of Support Orders is possible, but it is a lengthy process. With the backlog courts will be facing during and after this pandemic, it would be wise to continue making your support payments to the very best of your abilities. If you do choose to modify your support payments, filing now may help you get ahead of the court backlog we are bound to face in the coming months.
  • Prioritize your support payments. As stated above, many agencies are allowing for deferral of loan and debt payments. Utilizing these deferments may allow you to continue payment on Child Support or Spousal Maintenance obligations. Consider requesting deferral or forbearance on car payments, student debt, rent, credit card debt, etc. before you choose to forego payment on support ordered by the court.

If you are considering divorce or have questions about how COVID-19 will affect your legal matter, contact the attorneys at OWENS & PERKINS by clicking here or by calling our office at 480.994.8824 to schedule your FREE 30-minute consultation. We remain fully operational while practicing appropriate social distancing and cleaning regimes.