Can Alimony and Child Support be Affected by COVID-19?
10 December, 2020
By Rob Musemeche
If COVID-19 has impacted your ability to pay alimony or child support, it is important that you know what steps to take.
COVID-19 has disrupted just about every aspect of life. People have been laid off from their jobs or furloughed, while others have had to permanently shutter their businesses. For many, this has meant that they are unable to pay their bills, including their everyday expenses, as well as their alimony and child support obligations. So, if you cannot pay these types of support, or your former spouse has claimed that he or she cannot pay it, can anything be done about it? The answer is yes, but there are specific steps you must take.
Alimony and Child Support Orders in Texas
When a couple gets a divorce and a judge issues an order for alimony or child support, that order is legally binding. The person ordered to make the payments must do so or be found in contempt of court. As such, if you are unable to make these payments, you must petition the court to make a modification to the existing order.
Texas courts allow the modification of divorce orders when one person’s financial situation has changed. As such, if you have lost your job or have been laid off due to the pandemic, the courts may agree to change the order if it will not leave the recipient in financial hardship. Although many of the courthouses have also shuttered during this time, they are still open for emergency hearings, and being unable to pay a support order is considered an emergency.
What to Do if You Cannot Make Support Payments
It is easy to panic if you cannot make your alimony or child support payments, but the situation is not hopeless. Start by talking to your ex and explaining the situation. Ask if he or she would be willing to defer these payments, even in part, so they are more affordable for you. If you and your ex can come to an agreement, you may not need to petition the courts. However, make sure you put the agreement in writing so there are no misunderstandings or disputes in the future that could hurt your case.
If you and your former spouse cannot agree to modifications on your own, you may require court intervention. It is imperative at this point that you speak to a Texas family lawyer who can advise you of your options and if necessary, help you file the appropriate paperwork with the court.
Our Texas Family Lawyers can Help During This Difficult Time
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty. During this difficult time, you should not have to worry about being behind on alimony and child support payments, too. If you cannot make payments, or your ex refuses to pay, our Webster family lawyers at Musemeche Law, P.C. can help. We understand how to petition the court when asking for a modification, and how to hold spouses who are delinquent in payments accountable. Call us today at (281) 475-4145 or contact us online to get the legal advice you need.