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Help! I’ve lost my job due to COVID-19 and cannot pay support but the Courts are closed! What do I do?

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to gloom over the globe, the economy has gravely suffered and is seemingly continuing to suffer. The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program has run out of funds to assist small business owners in keeping their businesses up and running, resulting in owners needing help and employees being let go. Proportionately, unemployment rates have reached an all-time high. Specifically, in California, within the last month, we have processed just about 2.3 million unemployment insurance claims, and people are continuing to be laid off or furloughed as the days go by.

What that means for family law is that people are needing to modify support orders. Support orders can be in the form of child support, spousal/partner support, or family support. Modification can mean needing to decrease or terminate on one hand or needing to increase on the other. Many San Diegans are being hit hard during these challenging times, and we hear and empathize with you!

Update on What the Courts Are Doing

We know that pursuant to the Governor’s stay at home order, the Courts have closed, except for hearings on emergency orders. However, in response to the needs of San Diegans being financially impacted, Courts are considering amending emergency orders to hopefully provide a glimpse of hope during the pandemic.

Here is the quick glimpse of one of the rules The Judicial Council is attempting to bring into effect:

The Judicial Council is attempting to amend Emergency Rule 13 to now allow parties to preserve their retroactivity of modification of support to the date the requesting party mailed or properly served the opposing party. Typically, a court has discretion to enter an order modifying support to the earliest date being the date the request was filed with the Court. However, now that Courts are closed, retroactivity is essentially moot. In response, this emergency rule will now give the Courts discretion to enter an order modifying support to the earliest date being the date the request and its supporting documents were mailed or properly served upon the opposing party or their attorney. Here is the thing, once the courts permit filings to proceed, as the party seeking modification, you must then file and re-serve the opposing party with copies of the request for modification along with the supporting documents. The only exception to the subsequent service is if the party seeking the modification is a local child support agency and the request initially served already has a court date and time listed. This emergency rule is to stay in effect until 90 days after the state of emergency declaration has been lifted or until it has been amended or repealed.

How We Can Help You

We at Cage & Miles, LLP are here to help you. We are consistently staying on top of new developments happening within the community and we have continued to monitor the effects of COVID-19 and how it is impacting the realm of Family Law. Our staff is working diligently because we are committed. Give us a call today to see how we could be of assistance to you.