Can I pause baby help arrears in the course of the pandemic?

Question:

I lost my job due to the pandemic and I already owe maintenance arrears. I know I can change my maintenance order for future payments, but can I put these arrears on hold during this time?

Reply:

I do not practice law in your state. As a result, I cannot tell you about the specific laws of your state, but I can give you general tips for this type of problem.

You are right that you can request a change in your support payments in the future. However, I think it is important that you are aware that, unfortunately, the court cannot change the amount or duration of the assistance if the change in circumstances is found to be temporary, even though a decrease in income is considered a change in circumstances is seen .

For example, there is case law that says that a 20-month decrease in income was only temporary, so reducing child benefit was not justified. In addition, the family court will generally not change a support order, including the suspension of arrears, even during a change period.

Additionally, the court burdens the person requesting a change with notifying the court of any changes that could affect the assistance. Therefore, the court will not know that you have lost your employment until you have tabled your amendment. Therefore, your arrears will continue to be up to date unless and until a change is filed and granted. I would recommend submitting a file to change your support asap.

However, if payment becomes an issue for you, I would recommend contacting the law enforcement agency and notifying them of the change in your circumstances. You need to see if they continue an enforcement process against you until your employment and income return to pre-pandemic levels.

While the original amount is still in arrears, if the law enforcement agency is willing to stay enforcement proceedings, they should mitigate other measures against you, such as: B. reporting defaults to credit agencies or imprisonment for default.

Please note, however, that this is entirely at the discretion of the court so I cannot guarantee that enforcement will not be sought against you. I would also strongly recommend that, if you are able, you continue to pay the alimony at the level granted, so as to ensure that no enforcement proceedings are initiated.

Another alternative is to try privately to negotiate a temporary reduction in your arrears. If you and the other party can enter into a private agreement, a provision may be presented to the court, preferably drawn up by a lawyer, containing the terms of the fixed-term agreement. Any provision that changes support or suspends arrears must be submitted to the court. Otherwise, the original assistance ordinance will remain in full force and effect, and the court will not know that the terms have been changed.

Contact Cordell & Cordell to arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce attorney Caroline Thompson.

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Shawn Garrison

Shawn Garrison is an online editor for Lexicon and focuses on issues related to the legal services of clients Cordell & Cordell and Cordell & Cordell UK. He has written countless articles addressing the unique custody and divorce problems of men and fathers. Through his work on CordellCordell.com, CordellCordell.co.uk and DadsDivorce.com, Mr. Garrison has become an authority on the complexities of the legal practice and was the content creator for the YouTube series “Dad’s Divorce Live” and other videos on the YouTube channels Dad’s Divorce and Cordell & Cordell. Mr. Garrison has managed these clients’ websites and promoted the creation of several of their roles, including the Cordell & Cordell lawyer and office pages, Dad’s divorce newsletter, and the Cordell & Cordell newsletter.

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