Government Shutdown and Child Support
The recent government shutdown lasted a record 35 days, leaving families all over the country feeling its impacts. While over 400,000 federal employees were working for free with the promise to get paid later, hundreds of thousands were on unpaid leave. Even those who were eventually received back pay suffered a major hit to their finances.
Affected federal employees are justly concerned about paying their mortgage, car payments, and other bills. Divorced and separated federal workers who are also parents have the added worry about making support payments. Those with an ex who is a federal employee may wonder if they will be receiving the support they need.
Child Support in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, child support payments are determined by reasonable needs that the child has and the parent’s ability to pay. The numbers are calculated based on the child’s living situation, Social Security benefits, medical and daycare costs, and the income of each parent. The obligation usually continues until the child reaches the age of 18. It may remain in place if they are in high school after that age, or if they meet specific physical and/or mental conditions. In most cases, the payment amount is reviewed by a judge every few years.
Past Due Payments
Federal workers who are on furlough are still obligated to pay their child support, even if they are not receiving a paycheck. However, the federal government does not administrate child support payments; this is handled by the state where the parents live. Each state has certain laws that determine how child support and any past due payments are handled. These state laws vary, but there may be some options out there for the federal employees.
Child Support Modification
A parent who is federal worker put on leave by the partial government shutdown may have been unable to make their child support payments. Whenever a non-custodial parent experiences a loss of income, they should communicate this to the custodial parent immediately. This should be done in writing and include the reason, whether it is due to a government shutdown or other extenuating circumstances. There is a chance that an agreement can be worked out that is amenable for both parties. This arrangement should be reviewed by a qualified divorce lawyer.
In some states, it may be possible to apply for a child support modification. The parent will need to provide evidence of their financial hardship. Many states have provisions for non-custodial parents paying child support that experience a significant change in circumstances. The final determination will be up to the judge. Another route is to request temporary abatement for child support payments, which could lessen or stop them for a certain period of time. Again, this is up to the judge’s discretion.
Philadelphia Child Support Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Help Parents Struggling with Child Support Issues
If your child support payments have been affected by the government shutdown, we can offer you skilled legal guidance. For a free consultation with a qualified Philadelphia child support lawyer, call Freedman & Lorry, P.C. at 888-999-1962 or complete an online contact form today. Our offices are in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, and we represent clients in all family law matters.