Family Law and Divorce Attorneys in Virginia

How COVID-19 is Impacting Child Support in Virginia

On March 7, 2020, Virginia announced the first case of COVID-19 in the state. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified COVID-19 as a pandemic and on March 12, 2020, Governor Northam declared a state of emergency. What followed was the closure of many non-essential businesses, gatherings of more than 10 people, and K-12 school closures for the rest of the academic year.

Going further, the governor urged all Virginians to avoid traveling outside the home for non-essential reasons and restaurants were closed to the public except for takeout and delivery only. As a result of these orders, thousands of people across the state have been forced out of work. Understandably, the effects of COVID-19 go beyond people having to stay indoors as much as possible. It’s affecting jobs, housing, debt loads, and child support.

Impacted Financially by COVID-19?

While a significant number of businesses have been impacted by COVID-19, all the way from the server up to the plastic surgeon and dentist, certain industries, in particular, have been affected more than others. Those industries hit the hardest include but are not limited to:

  • Retail
  • Dining
  • Entertainment
  • Travel
  • Tourism
  • Transportation
  • Services (e.g. salons and spas)
  • Gyms and health clubs
  • Recreation facilities
  • Culinary arts

If your job has been impacted by COVID-19 and you pay child support, you may be worried about the negative consequences of skipping payments and reasonably so. When a paying parent skips payments, they face a variety of enforcement tools, such as driver license suspension, professional and recreational license suspension, the denial of a U.S. passport, bank account seizure, and tax refund intercept.

If your income has drastically changed due to COVID-19 or due to an unrelated reason, it’s critical to have an attorney help you petition the court for a downward modification. Child support is not retroactive; therefore, it’s important to address the matter as soon as possible. Until a court says your child support is changed, it will continue accruing according to the existing order, even if you’re unemployed.

For updates on COVID-19, you can visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website.

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