Child Support Modifications and the Coronavirus
By Abagail Richards, Esq. of Fausone Bohn, LLP on Monday, May 4, 2020.
Abigail Richards, Esq.
In the face of lockdowns and stay at home orders, many Michiganders have found themselves with reduced income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and may now be wondering if now is the appropriate time to modify support. If you have a child support or modifiable spousal support order in effect, now is the time to request a modification.
Michigan law allows a party to request a modification of child support if they have a change of circumstances. Similar to child support, if the parties have a modifiable spousal support order, the courts also allow for a review of support if the paying party can demonstrate a sufficient change of circumstances. The courts consider a change in income to be an appropriate change of circumstance to warrant a review of support.
Under MCL 552.603, a modification of a child or spousal support order is not retroactive unless there is a pending motion for modification. If you have experienced loss in income, the sooner a modification motion is filed the better as the court may retroactively modify support to the date the motion was filed. Filing the motion helps to preserve the date of modification back to the date of filing. Currently, many courts are not hearing motions unless they are emergencies, so any modification motion is unlikely to be heard until after the Stay at Home Order is lifted.
If you have been lost your job or suffered a decrease in income due to the COVID-19 crisis, now is the time to file a motion to modify support. It is important to note that the stimulus credit checks being sent to Americans under the CARES Act are treated similar to a traditional tax return, so if you have a large child support arrearage, the Friend of the Court is able to intercept the credit to pay towards the child support arrearage.
If you have experienced a reduction in income due to COVID-19, the family law practice at Fausone Bohn, LLP is here to help. The firm has decades of experience helping clients with an array of family law issues, including divorce, child support, and enforcement. Please feel free to call or email us anytime as we are here to assist.