The coronavirus pandemic has impacted families emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially. As uncertainty lingers, many working parents are now experiencing unforeseen and unprecedented layoffs or furloughs that have directly affected court-ordered child support payments. Parents who are experiencing financial hardship due to coronavirus are not only concerned with being able to make child support payments on time but whether they can make payments at all – even of partial amounts. Parents who cannot afford child support payments and are in this unfortunate predicament can consult with the experienced Texas child support lawyers at Terry & Roberts to learn more about their options and what can be done about missed payments due to COVID-19-related circumstances.
Texas Child Support Laws
Although the novel coronavirus has reshaped nearly every aspect of routine daily life, it does not have the power to stop or pause child support obligations. According to The Child Support Division of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), child support payments are a court-ordered obligation and therefore the OAG cannot grant payment relief during the pandemic. This means that while a parent may be unable to make their scheduled payments because of the economic implications of coronavirus, this fact alone does not exempt them from their child support obligations. While this is frustrating and inconvenient for many parents and families, it is done with the best interest of the child in mind.
Federal Stimulus Checks
The federal government provided stimulus checks to address the catastrophic economic turndown that resulted from industry shutdowns, travel restrictions, and overall economic uncertainty due to COVID-19. The total amount received by each American adult or household is dependent upon unique circumstances, such as how many dependents live in the household. Individuals who do not meet exemptions put in place by Congress are able to spend the money however they choose – including on child support payments. Those with restrictions can still have their stimulus funds automatically applied to existing outstanding debt, depending on the case.
Federal law requires the seizure of stimulus funds for individuals who owe more than $150 in public assistance care or more than $500 in non-public assistance child support care. If this is the case with your family, your $1200 federal stimulus payout could be intercepted to cover the partial or total amount of child support you owe. Meaning, that if a parent owes $600 in child support, then half of the stimulus funds would be applied towards the debt. In some cases where parents have remarried and one partner owes child support, the federal stimulus funds may be exempt from immediate interception if they meet criteria.
Brazoria County Child Support Lawyers
Currently, the only thing certain is uncertainty; and, while the coronavirus has brought with it a storm of negativity and snowball of devastating realities, there is hope for parents and families experiencing financial difficulties. Parents who cannot make child support payments or those who have questions or concerns regarding child support payments in the wake of COVID-19 should contact the Brazoria County child support lawyers at Terry & Roberts. Our experienced Texas family law attorneys compassionately and successfully assist Texas parents and families during difficult times.