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Late Child Support Payments and Eligibility for COVID-19 Financial Relief

Family Law Attorneys Serving Miami and Surrounding Cities

There can be serious consequences for late child support payments. However, if your financial circumstances have changed due to the coronavirus outbreak, such that you struggle to make the requisite child support payments, you should ask a Florida court to modify the support order. You may also be eligible for COVID-19 financial relief from the federal government, although you may not receive this relief if you already owe past due child support. At Sandy T. Fox, P.A., our Miami child support lawyers are familiar with the issues concerning late child support payments and eligibility for COVID-19 financial relief.

Enforcement of Child Support Orders During COVID-19

In ordinary times, a parent seeking to enforce a child support order first needs to contact the local child support office. In some cases, the Florida Department of Revenue can get the parent to pay the support. During the coronavirus outbreak, the Department of Revenue is closed, and you cannot visit a local office. You can contact the Department of Revenue by telephone or online. Parents may be able to devise a written agreement to prevent an enforcement action. It is wise for a parent who is aware that they cannot keep up with payments to seek a modification of a child support order rather than waiting to face an enforcement action.

Modification of Child Support Orders

If a child support order is in place, and a parent can show that there is a substantial and ongoing change in circumstances, they can file for a modification with the assistance of a family law lawyer. The judge will modify the support order if there has been a substantial and ongoing change in the parties’ circumstances, and the modification is in the child’s best interests. Income loss due to COVID-19 may qualify as a substantial and ongoing change in circumstances. Changes in parenting time due to the coronavirus outbreak may also permit a modification of child support. The modification must involve a change to child support by at least 15% or $50, whichever change is greater.

Late Child Support Payments and Eligibility for COVID-19 Financial Relief

In April 2020, the IRS is sending out economic relief checks or directly depositing them into taxpayers’ bank accounts. Most people will get an economic impact payment based on their income and filing status as of the 2019 tax return. For example, if you are single or married filing separately with an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000, you will receive $1,200. You can also get $500 for every child under age 17 whom you have claimed on your taxes. If your adjusted gross income as single or married filing separately is $75,000-$99,000, you will get an amount that is adjusted for this higher income. If your adjusted gross income is more than $99,000, and you do not claim children under age 17 on your taxes, you will not get an economic impact payment. These thresholds are doubled for married taxpayers filing jointly, who can receive up to $2,400, although the $500 bonus payment for each child remains the same.

Separate thresholds apply to taxpayers filing as heads of household. Their range is $112,500 to $136,500, with people under $112,500 receiving the full amount of $1,200 and people over $136,500 receiving nothing.

However, child support debtors who are registered in the federal Treasury Offset Program are not eligible to receive these stimulus payments. The Treasury Offset Program receives reports from the Child Support Program of the Department of Revenue regarding delinquencies in child support payments. The money that the child support debtor would have received will go to the parent who is owed the child support. If that parent received benefits from the government to replace the unpaid child support, the money in the stimulus check will go to the government as reimbursement for those benefits.

Contact an Experienced Miami Attorney to Discuss a Child Support Issue

If you are concerned about late child support payments and eligibility for COVID-19 financial relief, you should discuss your situation with family law attorney Sandy T. Fox. Mr. Fox is a Florida Bar Board Certified specialist in Marital and Family Law. He represents people in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Aventura, Hollywood, and other cities in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Call us at 800.596.0579 or 305.932.6542, or contact us through the online form.