Support Modification in the World of Coronavirus
As of June 1, 2020, nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians have filed for unemployment since the onset of COVID-19. Some of these workers have been paid, while many others have not due to the state’s workers’ compensation filing system. There are most likely hundreds of thousands of other workers in Pennsylvania that have not been able to file for unemployment because instead of being laid off or furloughed, their hours or wages have simply been cut. Thousands of people in Pittsburgh are struggling to pay their bills due to the necessary shut down measures implemented to combat the pandemic Under normal circumstances, a major life or financial change is grounds to petition the court for a child support modification. But because the courts are closed, is this even a possibility now during the pandemic?
How to Modify a Support Order
While family courts are physically closed to the public due to the pandemic parties can still file for support modifications electronically. The court may not schedule a support conference or hearing for some time, but if you file now you can preserve retroactivity. The retroactivity period encompasses the period of time from when the modification was filed to the date the new support obligation is entered by the court, usually on the conference or hearing date. As such, if the court does not have a hearing for modification until mid to late summer, you can have the order “backdated” to the date of filing. In Allegheny County, if a parent files a support modification within 30 days of the courts reopening, retroactivity will be preserved. If you are a receiving parent, that means that the paying parent will have to “catch up” on child support payments to meet the modifications backdated to when the petition was filed. If you are the paying parent and have petitioned for a modification that the court eventually approves, that may mean that you will be able to pay even smaller amounts of support in the near future to compensate for overpayments before the court could hear your modification request.
How an Attorney Can Help
Child support can only be modified due to a significant change in circumstances, such as one parent losing a job or the other parent getting a raise. The success of your modification request lies in correctly calculating the net income of each parent and the child’s expenses. This is more complicated when there are additional sources of income and each parent is not simply a W2 employee. Additionally, an attorney can help settle modification disputes out of the court system through mediation or arbitration—two methods that are typically faster than going through the courts, and may have more favorable results than having the decision made by a hearing officer.
Call a Pittsburgh Child Support Modification Lawyer Today
Whether you are the paying or receiving parent of child support, we can help you with a support modification during the coronavirus pandemic that better enables you to meet your and your child’s financial needs. Call the Pittsburgh support modification attorneys at Bunde & Roberts today at 412-391-4330 to schedule a free consultation.