Articles Tagged with government shutdown

Published on:

strained marriageCan a strained marriage and the stress of a government shutdown lead to divorce? There is no doubt about it: Stress has an impact on relationships, and it is generally not a positive impact. So, if you are one of the over 800,000 people whose family has been directly impacted by the government shutdown, or one of the hundreds of thousands affected by the sudden stagnant cash flow in your community due to the shutdown, will your marriage be affected?  It would be almost miraculous if the stress associated with the absentee paycheck did not touch your relationship.  If the stress escalates to the point that divorce is on the table, discussing your situation with a local divorce attorney is a good idea.

Strained Marriage – The Anxiety is Real

Studies indicate that marital satisfaction and longevity are at risk during high stress periods.  The government shutdown certainly qualifies as such for many, many couples with an already strained marriage:

  • Living without a paycheck, particularly for those who are still required to show up, affects families’ ability to make required payments, secure necessary child care, or make essential purchases;
  • Credit ratings are negatively impacted as creditors are dissatisfied with late or missing loan payments;
  • Individuals in the midst of home purchases are suddenly unable to qualify for loans;
  • Formerly self-sufficient families are having to rely on food pantries and soup kitchens for meals;
  • Breadwinners feel helpless as they are unable to earn a living while caught up in circumstances that are beyond their control and understanding;
  • The unpredictability of the situation only serves to amplify the unrest;
  • Employees who used to take pride in their work are left experiencing feelings of humiliation and desperation.

Relationships Within a Strained Marriage

It is no surprise that when individuals are struggling with anxiety and depression that stems from stress, their physical health, mental stability, and close personal relationships suffer, as well. Research abounds connecting stress with troubles in a strained marriage:

  • The original issues of stress and depression sometimes exacerbate other problems that may have been lurking beneath the surface of the marriage, causing them to become more visible and prominent;
  • Stress can translate into frustration, which may lead to impatience, verbal sniping, arguments, and even physical encounters;
  • As communication becomes strained, marital partners may become more defensive, impacting a couple’s ability to experience trust and intimacy;
  • Eventually, positive interactions may diminish, blaming and hostility may rise, and thoughts of parting ways may bubble up.

Strained Marriage – Positive Interventions for Stress

However temporary the stress may be, it is certainly real for those under its grip.  Suggestions to deal with the strain include:

  • Physical Interventions: Exercise, yoga, or breathing exercises;
  • Mental Interventions: Discussing options with supportive family members and friends, engaging in distractions like puzzles or books;
  • Emotional Interventions: Watching funny movies or spending time with friends and having the opportunity to laugh as you temporarily escape the stress;
  • Spiritual interventions: Praying, enjoying nature, and meditation;

Continue reading →

Published on:

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 child support payment modificationthose 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 →

Contact Information