Modification of Support during the Corona Virus Crisis

If your business or job is either permanently or temporarily affected by the Corona Virus crisis and you need a modification of support payment, either alimony or child support. We can help you at Helfand & Associates.

Alimony and child support can be modified based upon a clear showing of change of circumstances. Results depend on the facts of your case. We have handled many significant change in circumstances cases before Corona Virus, i.e, unemployment, disability or other change in life. We at Helfand & Associates have resolved most of these matters with excellent results using mediation or negotiation. When an application to court was necessary we also are very familiar with this process.

The health crisis is new and its financial effects on families must be faced. Those people who are divorced, paying support, separated, and have support obligations may need to legally adjust payments. We can help.

The obligations for financial support are taken seriously by all parties and the courts. Every effort must be made to avoid a default, however when income is no longer the same it is important for the payor as well as the recipient of benefits to cooperate and act honestly and prudently.

If you are looking for a modification from prior obligations you must consider and produce your old budget or Case Information Statement and prepare a new one to show the change in circumstances. It also helps to have data backing up what is unique about your matter to warrant the modification. For example, were you closed down completely like a retail store, a beauty salon or high-end restaurant? Did you qualify for or apply for loans or unemployment. Did you apply for mortgage forbearance if you have mortgage payment owed?

We encourage all parties to put aside anger and suspicion with the goal of temporarily modifying support using reasonable standards and numbers. If an intact family had a financial crisis the best way to resolve is to work cooperatively. This holds true after divorce as well. The courts look at both parties situations considering the totality of the circumstances.

Nonpayment without a court order or a consent order by agreement, is not a desirable option. It is “self-help” which the courts often frown upon. When you are taken to court for failure to pay the judge may not sympathize with you if you have done nothing to help yourself and those who depend upon your payments.

We can effectively guide you on these issues and other related matters during the period of Corona Virus. If you are the payee or recipient of support we can represent your interest in a fair modification or enforcement with provisions for review and upward changes when the crisis is over.

Hopefully business will be able to reopen in the near future which will make this a temporary situation for many. We do at Helfand & Associates handle Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies as well. (It’s about 10% of our practice.) Also in the event debts become too overwhelming.

The courts are open to make modification applications if necessary. If you have an uncooperative ex-spouse or partner the motion may be required however once it is filed many of those matters can be resolved through mediation and negotiation if they will not cooperate before the application. There are many strategies that can be used to get good results. At this firm however we try to save our clients unnecessary counsel fees if the matter can be resolved up front with alternative dispute resolution methods.

Please remember any modification for lower support can stipulate that it be changed when things get better. An agreement can be made for a review and modification at certain times in the near future when things change. A modification can call for payments of a percentage of income or use of assets as this is an emergency and bills need to be paid.

Tanya Helfand, Esq. is a businesswoman highly skilled in attaining reasonable, fair and intelligent solutions in difficult times. We provide phone and Zoom meetings with clients at this time. The courts are having hearings by Zoom as well on a daily basis. Helfand & Associates handles all matrimonial issues through trial and appeal if necessary. In these times of economic uncertainty and need for immediate relief we are nimble and ready to work with you. Please call our office at 973-428-0800.