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Child Support & the COVID-19 Pandemic


     It goes without saying that the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked financial chaos across this Country – countless Americans have lost their jobs or have suffered a significant decrease in their income. Nevertheless, their obligation to pay court ordered child support remains the same.

     Prior to the pandemic, an individual suffering from a financial downturn had the ability to file a modification petition seeking a reduction of his/her court-ordered child support obligation based upon a substantial change in circumstances. If the court granted the downward modification petition, the applicant would receive retroactive relief from the date of filing.

     Governor Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” initiative led to unprecedented unemployment rates resulting in countless New Yorkers unable to afford their court-ordered child support obligations. However, compounding this issue, Chief Administrative Judge Mark issued an order precluding new filings, which were not deemed “essential.” Child support petitions, including downward modification petitions, were not listed as one of the “essential” matters. Therefore, despite the tremendous amount of job losses at the onset of the pandemic, a petitioner was not permitted to file a downward modification petition with the court and was not entitled to retroactive relief from the date of the downturn.   

     However, as we enter the “new normal”, courts are now accepting petitions for child support matters and are holding hearings either virtually or in-person. Depending on the number of cases and case overload prior to the pandemic, obtaining a timely decision or relief from a judge may be challenging. Therefore, whether you are a custodial parent waiting to receive accrued child support or a non-custodial parent seeking a downward modification due to a change in your financial circumstances, it is vital that you act as swiftly as possible, especially to take advantage of the retroactive laws.

     We at the Litt Law Group have a team of matrimonial specialists here to help you navigate this process. Please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consult.