Trying to handle everything that you would typically have on your plate would be tough enough during a pandemic. Having to incorporate the complications that come with child custody or child support whether during separation or after your divorce has been finalized can leave your head spinning.
Even though South Carolina is beginning to open back up, it doesn’t eliminate your concerns as Covid-19 will pose problems for the foreseeable future. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions related to child support and child custody that have arisen due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Can I have a remote consultation if I need to modify my child support?
At Holland Law, LLC we are making every effort to offer comfortable alternatives for our clients and prospective clients to attend conferences to discuss their legal issues. I offer telephonic and video conferencing options to meet with me and work toward finding a solution to your legal problem.
My spouse lost his/her job and our household income dropped. Can I reduce my child support payments?
No. If your sole argument for reducing your child support payments is that your spouse was contributing to them, or making them in full on your behalf, and has suffered a reduction in income because of coronavirus (or any other reason), you will not be granted a reduction in your payment amount. Under the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines, the only income that is counted toward calculation of child support is that of the legally responsible parent. If you weren’t working at the time child support was established, the court determined what you would be capable of earning and calculated your payment based on that figure, along with any other income sources and assets. Because your spouse is not legally responsible for the debt, his or her income is irrelevant to your obligation to pay child support, which includes the amount.
My ex lost his/her job and has fallen behind in child support payments. What can I do?
It’s a tough decision to make during a time when everyone is experiencing a crisis, but you do have the option of filing for enforcement of your court order. Even though you understand the difficulties that your ex is going through, the simple truth is that you have a child to raise. If your ex isn’t doing all he or she can to ensure your child is taken care of, such as seeking alternate employment until things improve, and you want to pursue the matter, you have a right to do so. Contact a family law attorney who will protect your child’s rights by guiding you through the contempt process.
I’m supposed to get my kid for summer break; will coronavirus affect that?
The short answer is maybe. If a court order for custody and visitation has been established, which includes you having your child over the summer, you should still have your child during that time. That doesn’t mean your ex will comply if he or she perceives there to be a risk to your child.
If you have concerns over potential issues surfacing that could affect your summer parenting time with your child, it would be a good idea to seek out legal advice now. Courts are still learning how to maneuver through coronavirus just like the rest of us, which means they’re moving slower than usual. Waiting until the week you are supposed to have your child and suddenly learning your concern was valid may cost you that visitation time as the issue may not be resolved in time. Consulting with a child custody attorney ahead of time can help to minimize those problems.
I’m an essential worker and have concerns about my son/daughter living in my home. How can I explain to my child that I’m trying to keep him/her safe?
Making hard decisions in the best interest of your child is a tough job, but that’s what parenting is all about. It won’t be an easy conversation to have, but it’s important to help your child understand that this is just a temporary solution to make sure he/she stays healthy and safe. Let him/her know that it’s okay to miss you but that it’ll also give him/her the opportunity to spend more time with another parent, grandparent, friend, or other loved ones. Depending upon the age of your child, he/she may not understand entirely so it’s important to reassure him/her that you’ll still talk every day by phone or video chat until it’s safe to come home.
A member of my ex’s household has coronavirus. Can I apply for temporary full custody/modify my custody order to keep my child home with me?
Yes. While there is never a guarantee that you’ll be successful, many judges are taking coronavirus into account when it comes to meeting the substantial change in circumstances requirement needed to modify a child custody order. If your child has a health issue, such as asthma, that places him or her into a high risk category, you may have better odds at obtaining temporary full custody. The court always focusses on what’s in the best interest of your child when making these decisions.
Because we’re living in uncertain times, there are financial and custodial questions that are going to come up regularly that could never have been predicted. Tom Holland is here to help you find creative solutions to all of your new family court legal hurdles. The caring staff at Holland Law, LLC is available to discuss a potential child support or child custody complication you are having in York, Lancaster, or Chester County. To schedule your consultation in either my Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or in my Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue, please call 803-219-2630, or I invite you to reach out to me through my contact page.
Tom Holland previously served as the General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the City Solicitor for the City of Lancaster, and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. He is a single father, and through his own divorce gained valuable insight he now uses to represent Fort Mill and Rock Hill, SC families with the best representation. Learn more about Tom Holland.