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.
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.