Apr 10, 2020
COVID-19 – Is it the Right Time to File for a Modification of Support?
We are all dealing with different issues during the Covid-19 crisis. Many in Pennsylvania and our country are facing layoffs or have lost their jobs. If this is your situation, you may be asking yourself if you should file for a modification of your child support order?
The law regarding child support modification states that either party can file for modification of child support if there is a change of circumstance. These circumstances include: a change in custody with a child, increase or decrease in income or any special financial needs of a child.
Prior to the current pandemic, if you filed a request for modification and it was granted, it was retroactive to the filing date with the Prothonotary. For example, if you filed on June 1st and the decision was granted on August 15, the modified amount would be calculated retroactive from June 1.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an Order on March 18, 2020 closing all courts to the public for non-essential functions through at least April 3, 2020 with few exceptions. The exceptions did not include petitions for modification of support. We can assume the closure will be extended. This is based on the federal government recommendations for social distancing and the Governor’s order for businesses and schools to remain closed through April 30, 2020. We don’t yet know whether or not Family Court or the Supreme Court will accept filings for child support modification or what the retroactive date will be.
What should you do?
Although child support certainly feels essential to anyone filing a modification petition, it is not considered essential at this time under the current law. However, the President Judge at their discretion, may decide that a case is essential and review it. So, whether not the court accepts filings at this time, it is important to prepare the petitions for modification to either to be filed now or to be ready to file as soon as possible.
For more information, contact Michael Hughes, Esq. at alpha-divorce.com