20 Apr The Financial Impact of COVID-19 on Family Matters
Throughout March and April, we have seen our clients and their families impacted by COVID-19 in every way. In this blog, we are going to focus on the financial impact our clients have experienced and what can be done to lessen that impact, if anything, as it relates to child support. In addition, we will touch on the federal government’s issuance of stimulus checks to Texas families and how that can affect two-household families.
Unfortunately, our country has seen millions of people losing their jobs and filing for unemployment due to COVID-19 and its effect on our economy. This means that some of our clients are experiencing this situation as well. In Texas, in two-household families, there is almost always one parent who has a child support obligation to the other parent. If the obligor (parent who has the child support obligation) loses his or her job due to COVID-19, there are a couple of scenarios that could potentially play out. One would be that that parent finds a way to continue to pay child support while they are unemployed and engaged in the process of finding another job. Two would be that that parent just stops paying child support because they no longer have the funds and begins to accrue a child support arrearage, earning interest on that arrearage, that they will need to pay back. Discontinuing payment of child support has many negative consequences; for more information, give us a call to discuss those details. Three would be that that parent files a Motion to Modify Child Support requesting a decrease in child support due to this loss of employment. If a parent were to take this route, they could, at the very least, serve the other parent with this motion and have a back date to which child support could be retroactively decreased if and when the issue is put before a judge. Of course, each person’s situation is unique and you should discuss these scenarios with an attorney before deciding what course of action to take.
Another aspect of families’ financial state is the federal government’s issuance of stimulus checks. Please review the IRS’ website for details on which families and individuals qualify to receive a stimulus check. We have found that, because the stimulus check calculations are based on the previous tax year, some families that were previously part of one unit are now part of two separate units. Questions have arisen as to which parent is going to receive the family’s stimulus checks and how to divide them among family members once received. For example: which parent receives the checks for the kids? Do the checks get divided 50/50?
If any of these situations are occurring within your family, please call us Navarrette Bowen, P.C. at (940) 566-0606 and we will be happy to guide you through this complicated time in all our lives.