The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many businesses to shut down, leading to the significant reduction or loss of income for many members of our community. It further impacts those who have obligations to pay child support, and increases the sense of urgency and insecurity for those parties who rely on child support payments to support their children.
If you are the payor responsible for providing child support to the custodial parent, you must continue making court ordered payments. If you are experiencing financial issues due to a pay cut, being laid off, or furloughed due to COVID-19, you may have a reasonable basis to request a reduction in your child support payments.
You must continue paying the court ordered child support unless or until you file a motion in court (or Child Support Enforcement Agency), or execute a written agreement between you and your co-parent temporarily reducing the child support payments. Until a parent requests a change to their current child support, the obligation to pay continues and amounts owed for past months (or years) generally cannot be modified going backward.
In addition to potential termination or non-voluntary reduction in pay, there are a variety of other issues that may impact child support during the COVID-19 crises including:
- Receipt of unemployment benefits
- Receipt of COVID-19 related economic stimulus payments
- Reduction or elimination of private school expenses
- Reduction or elimination of child care cost due to suspension of school classes or child care
- Health insurance changes
- Loss of income due to non-job related income streams like rent or investments
Should you choose to file a request with the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) or a Pre-Decree/Post-Decree Motion with Family Court, expect a substantial delay for a scheduled hearing as all non-essential hearings have been postponed past June 15, 2020. In the alternative, any signed written agreement with your co-parent will likely be more efficient and should be filed with Family Court.
If you are the payee receiving child support payments from the payor, and you receive your payments through CSEA, your payments will still continue to be processed. Pursuant to Governor Ige’s mandate, the CSEA office is closed to the public. Customer service representatives will not be available while the office is closed.
If you have any questions regarding child support modifications, or on how the COVID-19 affects your legal issues, take the next step and call (808) 539-1100 or email Family@HawaiiLegal.com so we can provide you with the personal attention you need to resolve your legal issues