With COVID-19 now changing the way we live our lives, many have been terminated or temporarily removed from their place of work. With a sudden halt to income, some may be wondering what to do now if they cannot make their court-ordered child support or spousal support payments.
Here are some steps you can take if you find yourself in this situation:
- Contact your lawyer immediately. Although for all practical purposes the courts in Kentucky are closed until April 10, 2020, motions to suspend child support payments, to reduce child support, and to hold child support or spousal support in abeyance can still be filed electronically, making them retroactive to the date the motion is filed. Although I don’t believe a motion for contempt for non-payment of either child support or spousal support will result in a finding of contempt if your job was eliminated or suspended because of COVID-19, it is always best to be proactive.
- Many small business owners are under the stress of whether they can pay their staff and bills during a shut down, this may be compounded with the added stress of having to pay spousal support or child support. A solution, particularly with spousal support, is to hold the payments in abeyance and add the missed months to the end of the obligation, or offer to pay what is owed within the next year.
- Communication with your ex-spouse or other parent is crucial. As we hear every day, “We are all in this together.” Your non-payment will directly affect your ex-spouse or your child’s other parent, and then ultimately affect the children. You may be surprised by the response you get if you just reach out an communicate
- Put it in writing. If you are able to reach an agreement, it needs to be signed by both parties and signed by a judge.
Keep in mind that non-payment of these financial court orders is not intentional. No one is purposefully under-employed. The situation many find themselves in is unavoidable and not their fault. This is temporary. This too shall pass.