In the midst of unprecedented layoffs and unemployment claims due to the COVID-19 pandemic, clients may wonder if their support obligations owed (or support they are ordered to receive) will continue at their current levels. Until changed by the court, all child and spousal support payments should continue as normal. If you have lost your job or had a decrease in income related to COVID-19, you may be able to obtain relief through a modification of your support obligation. It is important to file a modification as soon as possible after a change in circumstances has occurred. Currently, Oregon courts are allowing motions to modify to be filed, but some counties are not signing show cause orders or assigning hearing dates for these motions until the current restrictions are lifted.
If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of Oregonians that has filed an unemployment claim, a portion of your unemployment benefits may be deducted if you owe child support. If your child support payments are usually deducted from your paychecks as required by your Judgment, a percentage of your unemployment benefits will be deducted each week to pay the support obligation.
Even the economic stimulus payments are not safe from support obligations. The CARES Act signed on March 27, 2020 authorized economic stimulus payments of $1,200 per person and $500 per child to many Americans earning less than $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples). Although those payments are not considered income, the stimulus payments can be seized to pay any child support that is owed.
If you have questions about your ongoing support obligations, or support you are ordered to receive, our attorneys are available for online/remote consultations during the COVID-19 crisis. Contact Us here.