Many Floridians have suddenly found themselves without their jobs as a result of the novel coronavirus and the economic shutdown. At the time of this writing, the unemployment rate is at 4.3 percent, with over 1.6 million people applying for unemployment claims with the state government since mid-March. Unfortunately, many of those claims have not yet been processed or paid.
If you are divorced, you may have been ordered by the court to either pay alimony or child support as part of your divorce agreement. If those payments were calculated when you were employed, but now you find yourself without a job, you may be wondering how to cope when you have no income. The first thing you should consider is to contact an experienced family law attorney who will be able to counsel you on the resources available to you.
When a judge was determining what type and how much alimony was to be granted to your ex-spouse, they looked at several things such as
The sources of income for both of you
Both of your earning potentials
Child responsibility (if applicable)
Length of the marriage
Whether you were ordered to pay a temporary, bridge-the-gap, or durational alimony, if you are now unemployed, the worst thing you can do is stop making the payments without explaining what has happened. If you are on speaking terms with your ex-partner, you should let them know that you lost your job. If you think your job loss is going to last longer than the coronavirus pandemic, you might have to seek a court-ordered modification of alimony, but it is important to note here that bridge-the-gap alimony plans cannot be modified.
Similarly, if you owe your ex-partner monthly child support, losing your job is considered to be a major life change. If you can show documentation that you lost your job but you are actively looking for another, you could qualify to have the child support order modified. Again, you should take into consideration whether your unemployment is temporary or going to last beyond when the economy reopens.
In any case, the worst thing you can do is ignore the problem. Your child support is one of the most important financial obligations you have, so you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible to help you figure out what you can do. Simply not paying child support without any explanation will mean you are in violation of your child support order.
The family law attorneys at Veliz Katz Law understand that these are unprecedented times, and the economic fallout of COVID-19 calls for extraordinary measures. If you have lost your job here in Orlando and are worried about finances, we offer free initial consultations. We have been serving Central Florida families for over 25 years, and we can help you. We are available to discuss your circumstances either by phone or teleconference so you don't have to come into our office, contact us.