Can the government shutdown trigger a child support payment modification? If you are a parent who counts on child support payments to make ends meet, and your former spouse is a furloughed federal employee, can you still anticipate getting those essential payments? On the other hand, if you are the furloughed employee, how can you be expected to send out a check when you are not receiving one yourself? Whichever side of the issue you are on, it is entirely possible that you will feel the impact of the government shutdown. If you are not sure what to expect, a local Santa Rosa family law attorney can help.
Child Support Payment Modification Options
Certainly, both parents in these circumstances have a valid point. Raising a child is expensive, and a parent’s obligation to pay child support is a significant one. When income is significantly altered, as it is during a furlough, there are options. An order requesting a child support payment modification could be one of them.
In order to make such a child support payment modification change, you must fill out a form indicating that there has been a change in circumstances since the previous child support order was made. Typically, such requests for a reduced child support payment are based on one or more of several factors, including:
- A change in your income;
- The loss of your job;
- Your incarceration;
- You have had another child in another relationship for whom support will be necessary;
- There has been a significant change in the amount of time you spend with the child;
- The needs of the child have undergone a dramatic change due to health, education, or other issues.
In the case of a furlough, your change in income is likely temporary. The court would have to consider this as it weighs any changes to the child support order.
Stipulating a Child Support Payment Modification
In some situations, both parents may agree to changes in the child support agreement, and may stipulate to adjustments for the period of the furlough. In this case, they can simply sign off on the settlement, get the judge’s signature, and it becomes a new order. Parents may come to their own agreement and proceed without the approval of the courts, but one parent could always go after another for back payments unless the judge’s signature sanctions the changes.
Filing a Motion for Child Support Modification
In the event the parents can not agree to changes in the support payments, the parent seeking a change must file a motion requesting a modification in payment requirements. Payment expectations will not change unless and until a judge signs off on any modification requests. (The exception to this is when the payer is imprisoned for at least 90 days and is unable to make payments, at which point payments are suspended automatically). Continue reading →