The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to shut down, leading to significant reduction or loss of income for many members of our community. If you are required by a court order to pay child support, uncertainty regarding how to meet this financial obligation can cause you additional financial stress. If you rely on child support, the current economic climate may create an increased sense of urgency and financial insecurity.
If You Can’t Meet Your Child Support Obligation
As the payor responsible for providing child support to the custodial parent, you must continue making court ordered payments until you obtain a court order changing or terminating your obligation. However, if you are experiencing financial limitations due to a pay cut or lay off, you may have a reasonable legal basis to request a reduction in your child support payments.
The family law team at PMK can educate you on your rights and assist you in obtaining relief by assisting in working out an agreement between you and your co-parent that temporarily adjusts the child support payments to accommodate the current financial situation or, if needed, to seek modification with the Family Court or with the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). Remember that time is of the essence in requesting a legal change to any child support obligation as amounts owed for past months (or years) cannot be modified going backward.
You Aren’t Receiving Your Court-Ordered Support
If have a court order to receive child support payments from your co-parent but they have stopped paying, you may be able to seek relief through the CSEA or the Family Court to ensure payments continue or, if your co-parent has lost his or her job, that financial support obligations are adjusted to ensure you receive a reasonable portion of the pay you are receiving. PMK can educate you on your options to seek relief through changing financial circumstances in these uncertain times.
The justice system is not immune to the uncertainty of our times. Just like many businesses, state court business hours and procedures are changing almost daily. As a result, it’s difficult to know when (or if) you’ll have access to court services, adding one more frustration in already difficult times.
So how do you mitigate possible delays and frustrations? If you’re going through a divorce, you can use an alternate dispute resolution strategy (ADR). Working with your spouse and an arbitrator or mediator can be faster, less expensive, and remove some of the uncertainty around the divorce process.
In mediation, the parties work together with a trained mediator who facilitates conversation and resolution. When using mediation, you should always seek legal counsel before signing any documents or agreements to ensure your rights are protected.
If you are unable to reach an agreement with your spouse, you can choose arbitration. In arbitration, the parties hire a family law attorney who acts as a private judge to resolve the remaining disputes and moves the case forward on a timetable that is often faster than proceeding through the Family Court. Each side is given an opportunity to obtain important documents and information, to present their position through documents and/or witnesses. After hearing from both parties and any required experts, and reviewing all supporting documents, the arbitrator will issue a binding decision.
The family law team at PMK can help you find the best solution for your situation.
PMK partnered with HUGS to sponsor two, socially distanced, Dad’s nights at the Old Spaghetti Factory on July 14th and 15th. HUGS is an organization that helps strengthen Hawaii’s families and improve their quality of life as they face the emotional and financial hardships of caring for a seriously ill child.
With the added hardships and stress from the global pandemic, the dads appreciated taking a safe break and spending time with others that they hadn’t seen in months. We are honored to provide these deserving parents a night for themselves and to support an organization that impacts many local families.
To learn more about HUGS, visit https://www.hugshawaii.org/.
PMK Partner Kapono Kiakona was a featured panelist at the ATLAS Insurance Agency Webinar held on June 23rd. Kiakona was part of a panel that discussed the Association of Apartment Owners (AOAO) and how they can best navigate loosening COVID-19 restrictions and what to expect in the coming months.
Kapono was also a featured panelist at the the FidelityHawaiiConnects Round Table Discussion held on July 8th. Kiakona discussed how business has changed and industry adjustments with regards to Association of Apartment Owners (AOAO) and Covid-19.
PMK attorneys Taylor W. Gray and Leo Y. Shimizu recently filed a Petition to Excuse Compliance with the Requirement for an Oahu-based Condominium Association’s Governing Documents. They argued that the 50% quorum requirement unreasonably interfered with the Association’s ability to carry out its functions as outlined in its governing documents.
The Association had unsuccessfully attempted to hold an annual meeting at quorum for the past three years (2018, 2019 and 2020).
The Court granted the motion, reducing the quorum requirement for annual meetings from 50% to a more attainable 35%. As a result, the Association will be able to move forward on important business, including the election of new directors.