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How COVID-19 Can Impact Child Support Cases in California

Since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was declared a public health emergency, California has been working around the clock to slow the spread of the virus and help citizens cope until stay-at-home orders are lifted. For example, the state is offering free testing for medically-eligible Californians, it’s ensuring children get meals on school days, it’s deployed the California National Guard to help at food banks, and it has secured housing for people who are homeless.

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has impacted Californians and the American economy as a whole due to business closures and the unemployment that ensued. As such, many Californians have watched as their income came to a grinding halt. As a natural result of the unemployment crisis, people are having difficulty paying their bills, and child support is no exception.

Effects of Skipping Child Support

Even though many banks and utility companies are working with people to delay payments and suspend foreclosures during the pandemic, that is not the case with monthly child support obligations. If your income has been interrupted due to COVID-19 and you pay child support, it’s important to be aware of the negative effects of NOT paying child support, which include but are not limited to:

  • Real estate liens
  • Driver license suspension
  • Lottery winning intercept
  • Tax refund intercept
  • Seizure of bank account funds (including joint accounts)
  • Professional and recreational license suspensions
  • Negative credit reporting

Did you know that if a parent owes child support, their economic stimulus check may be reduced or they may not get anything at all? Also, if a married couple files jointly on their tax returns and only one spouse owes back child support for a child from a previous relationship, the spouse who doesn’t owe child support may never see their stimulus check. If you’re concerned about this, we can help answer your questions if you need to know more.

What is the Solution?

If you cannot afford your child support payments because the coronavirus has impacted your finances, the solution is to petition the court for a downward modification right away. Since child support is not retroactive, it’s important that you act fast before the local child support agency commences any of the collection actions mentioned earlier.

For professional legal assistance with your child support case, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule a consultation by calling (916) 299-3936.