The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted people throughout the world and the United States is no exception. Here in the States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health departments have made several suggestions to help slow the spread of the virus. Local health departments, in particular, have advised social distancing, home quarantine, and they’ve asked non-essential businesses to shut down operations.
It’s no secret that COVID-19 has led millions of people across the nation to lose their jobs. Many of these people are noncustodial parents who pay child support. While dozens of occupations have been hit hard, people who work in retail, dining, transportation, travel, tourism, entertainment, advertising, and services are said to be feeling it the most. Small business owners have felt the sting too. How about you, have you experienced a financial impact from the coronavirus pandemic? If so, are you worried about keeping up with your child support?
Can’t Afford Child Support?
In any kind of economic crisis or recession, a percentage of the people impacted directly are going to have issues keeping up with their child support payments. “Do I have to pay child support if I lose my job due to COVID-19?” If you lose your job due to the coronavirus or for any other reason, you’re still liable for child support.
Parents in Pennsylvania and across the nation are obligated to pay child support no matter what. Meaning, you’re on the hook for child support regardless of your circumstances. After all, you’d still have to support your children if they were living with you. So, factors like unemployment, mental illness, a terminal disease, and disability have no bearing on child support. The only way a parent is relieved of their child support obligation is if their parental rights are terminated by a court of law.
You Have a Solution
If your financial circumstances change due to unemployment or any other reason, the solution is to contact the family court immediately and petition for a downward modification. While it’s impossible to owe $0 every month, it is possible to have a court reduce your monthly obligation due to your job loss. Please note that child support is NOT retroactive, thus, an order cannot be changed until a court says so.