How to Reduce Child & Spousal Support Payments During the Pandemic

How to Reduce Child & Spousal Support Payments During the Pandemic

As the whole world is trying to adapt to the changes that COVID19 has brought, one of the biggest struggles is for those parents who are no longer able to financially support their loved ones like they used to and would want to. When there’s a loss of financial security in a home where the couple and children are still together as a family, all that’s required is to cut back on their expenses and lower their monthly budget. However, couples who have been separated have to consider other ways to manage the situation.

If you have lost your job and are genuinely unable to pay child and spousal support payments like you used to, this article is for you.

What to do to qualify for a reduction in child support payments

  • You must show that you had full-time or part-time employment before the pandemic, which you no longer do.
  • You must show that there has been a substantial decline in your income, or you no longer have an income due to COVID19.
  • You must show that the reasons behind your loss of income are related to COVID19 and not you.
  • You must show that there’s little chance of getting the job back anytime soon.
  • You must also show that you are looking for alternative employment and haven’t been able to find any. Notify the recipient in writing

First things first, you must notify the recipient of the child or spousal support in writing of your current situation. In that letter, go into detail explaining the situation and how your income has changed. Calculate your new income and the amount of child or spousal support that you can comfortably pay. You may even state that this new support amount may be reviewed in 3 to 6 months if your employment situation changes. If they receive the letter and agree to this change, let them do so in writing.

Provide documentation to prove your change

You may need to exchange some documentation that shows how your situation has changed. For instance, you’ll need to attach the termination letter from your employer that shows you’ve been laid off or that your working hours have been reduced. You may also provide a copy of your last paycheck or recent bank statements that confirm there’s been no deposit of employment to your bank account. Your ex may also provide their documents to show an increase/decrease of income in order to make the necessary adjustments.

Exhaust all settlement options before going to court

Having your case heard in court during COVID19 can be difficult. For several weeks, the court has been hearing matters virtually. There are long waiting times and a huge backlog, which may result in a long time before you can get in front of a judge to hear your child or spousal support case. To avoid the costly and stressful process, try private dispute resolution with your ex. You may have an in-person meeting with your ex to go over all the options and explain what you need to. You may also use a trusted individual or a certified family law mediator, or private arbitration.

Remain transparent throughout

The process of mediation, arbitration, and negotiations can seem long and exhausting. However, always aim to complete this process with clean hands. Don’t be too quick to provide detailed statements or so many documents and answer questions you haven’t even been asked. Use the meetings to answer the questions asked and negotiate with the help of your lawyer. Don’t always try to desperately explain your situation, leaving nothing to the imagination.

Do you have a prior court order?

If you are unable to amicably agree on making some adjustments to your current order with your ex-spouse, you will need a judge to intervene. You will need to file an application to vary an order at either the provincial court or the supreme court.