Tag: Alimony and the Stay-at-home Parent

Modification of Alimony and Support, and some great Coronavirus information

More and more of my clients are asking about modification of alimony and child support because they or their Ex has lost jobs or seen their incomes slashed. There is also a wealth of information about the coronavirus, and one video in particular is a standout.

Alimony Modification

Life in the Coronavirus Economy

We didn’t just pass a $2 Trillion aid package for no reason. Markets have suffered, restaurants, bars and other businesses across the country have closed or are limping along until the market returns.

Employers have furloughed employees or reduced staffing in order to prevent the spread of the cornavirus and manage the economic impact it has created. For many people, this impacts their bottom line.

What if you or your ex-spouse or co-parent has alimony or child support obligations that can no longer be paid as a result of reduced income? Or what if you have lost your job and need additional support?

The time to act may be now in order to get the right information, preserve your legal rights, even while you are trying to work cooperatively with your Ex for the benefit of everyone in the family.

Florida Alimony and Child Support Modification

I recently spoke at the Florida Bar Family Law Section/AAML Certification Review Course in Orlando on the topic of Modifications. There are a few reasons why alimony and child support can be modified.

Dramatic changes brought on by the Coronavirus in people’s health, inability to go back to work, substantial drops and rises in pay, big gifts or lottery winnings, loss of jobs, furloughing, and early retirement are the major forces behind alimony and child support modification.

In Florida, to modify alimony and child support, you have to show three fundamental things: a substantial change in circumstances, the change was not contemplated at the time of the final judgment of dissolution, and that the change is sufficient, material, involuntary and permanent in nature.

Florida courts have discretion to modify alimony and child support retroactively to the date of the original filing of the action to modify, or supplemental action for modification depending on the cause.

It is important to keep in mind that you have to take the initiative, a court will not increase or reduce or terminate your alimony and child support payments if you have not filed the appropriate pleadings.

Simply not paying alimony and child support could cause the court to issue sanctions, pay the other side’s attorney’s fees, have your driver’s license suspended, or possibly even jail.

Great Coronavirus Information

There’s an excellent and instructive video from Dr. David Price of the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City who is treating COVID-19 patients. Dr. Price shares information in a Zoom call with his family and friends on protecting yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic. Well worth a look. Some important take aways:

  • Clean your hands.
  • Wear a mask outside – not to prevent breathing in the coronavirus – but because your less likely to touch your face.
  • Stay away from people. Distance yourself from other people outside of your quarantine. Stand a 3-6 feet back.
  • Shrink your social circle. Find your isolation group and keep. It is the people maintaining large social circles who are catching and spreading COVID-19.
  • What if you catch COVID-19?

Throughout the world, the way the COVID-19 disease has been transmitted is primarily through family and your close contacts: dads and sons, husbands and wives, romantic partners, etc. If you develop a fever, isolate yourself from your family and the same rules apply: no-sustained contact to avoid picking it up. Ideally, the sick should have their own bathroom, their own bedroom, one medical mask is needed . . . on the person who is sick.

The video is here.


Alimony and the Stay-at-home Parent

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Alimony on Thursday, September 3, 2015.

Always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom or dad? Your personal finances play a big part in that decision. This is especially true if you are separated or divorced from the other parent.

Forbes magazine recently published some Pew Research Center findings about parents who stay at home:

In 2012, 29% of mothers stayed at home with their children, up from 23% in 1999.

In 2012, 16% of all stay-at-home parents were fathers. That’s up from 10% in 1989.

With more parents choosing to stay at home with their children, what are some of the costs?

Cost of baby: According to the Dept. of Agriculture, the cost of raising a child born to a middle-income family will be $245,340 for food, housing, child care, education and other expenses, up to age 18. That doesn’t even include college!

Cost of working: Working also costs. Childcare cost is the biggest expense, with the average yearly cost for full-time care for an infant ranging from $4,863 to $16,430. Add to that bill: work outfits, dry cleaning, restaurant lunches, Frappuccinos, and your daily commute.

Wages: In addition to out-of-pocket costs, a child costs an average of $49,000 in lost lifetime wages for women due to taking time off to raise children, or choosing less demanding, lower-paying work to accommodate children.

Divorce: Researchers have found that women’s income drops by an average of 40% – and men’s by 25% – after a divorce. This makes it harder for parents to be the stay-at-home parent they dream of.

Alimony: Divorce is bad, but it gets even worse. I’ve written before about several bills in Florida to reform alimony. Over the past years, there has been a steady effort to reduce both the length of the term of alimony, in addition to lowering the amount of alimony a court can award in a divorce.

The financial impact of taking time off from work to raise your children can be very sobering. If you are contemplating that decision, information can help you make that decision.

The Forbes article can be found here.