By Hope Tuber
Some businesses are still suffering from the ripple effects of COVID, as many people were forced to stay at home and have lost their jobs. To compound this problem, your child support check has not arrived or is less than expected. This is a case of legality vs. reality. Legally, a child support order is a court order and must be followed unless another order is signed by a judge changing the current support order. However, now your spouse has failed to provide the ordered support. Your first step: have a discussion. Find out why the support was not forthcoming. If your spouse lost his/her job because of this pandemic, he/she may physically not be able to make support payments. They also may not be making mortgage/rent payments. Find out the situation and ensure that child support payments are made plus an accommodation to pay arrears.
If they were fired, it is incumbent on them to find another job and start making payments. Keep in mind the reality that during these unique times, they may not be able to find new employment in the same field or any employment. If they have savings, they should be trying to make payments. This is not a moratorium on all support payments. They are still legally obligated to provide support. The question really becomes are they able to or are they unable due to these unique circumstances.
Of course, if you are unhappy with their answer, either because they refuse to speak to you or because their explanation simply is not grounded in truth, your option is to bring this issue to the Court. Bringing a person to court who lost their job due to the COVID pandemic may not be the best option. However, if you believe that your spouse is not being truthful and is only using the pandemic as an excuse to avoid paying child support then you may have no other option. However, before engaging in costly motion practice attempt to find out what the situation is. Legally, they are responsible for support, but the reality may be—because of the pandemic—it may not be possible.