Child Support and Alimony Modifications During COVID-19
Submitted by New Jersey Family Law Attorney, Jeffrey Hark.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant economic strife to the world economy. The impact has reached the United States and the State of New Jersey. We are seeing a stock market plummet and an economic shutdown while governments scramble to combat the Coronavirus. Many people are facing financial hardship amidst the COVID-19 crisis. People are forced to stay home, businesses are required to close, and the future is full of uncertainty. Many people have financial obligations that they cannot meet because of the shutdowns. Among these financial obligations are child support and alimony.
Under normal circumstances, an individual who loses his or her job, or cannot make their full child support or alimony payments, could apply to the Court for relief from their child support and/or alimony obligations. However, the Family Courts are also facing shutdowns of their own. In-person Court proceedings are reduced to nothing, and most of the emergent proceedings are being performed remotely. Regular motions and proceedings like alimony and child support modifications are being postponed until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.
If you believe that you are entitled to a child support or alimony modification, you should still apply to the Court as soon as possible. Although the motion may not be heard for months, when you file a motion to modify alimony or child support, your motion file date is preserved. If the Court grants your request, it will be granted retroactive to the date that you filed the motion. That is why it is crucial to file your motion as soon as possible, even if the Courts are closed at the moment for most proceedings.
For example, if you file your motion to reduce child support and/or alimony on March 25, but your motion is not granted until July 1, your alimony and/or child support obligation will be reduced as of March 25, your date of filing.
Filing a motion to reduce your obligation may also prevent enforcement action against you, such as a bench warrant.
At Hark & Hark, we help parents with divorce, custody, domestic violence, child support, alimony issues and more.
In recognition of these trying financial times, we are reducing fees and working with clients to come up with manageable payment plans. Initial consultation is always free and we are available remotely.
Michael J. Collis, Esquire