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Covid-19

COVID AND SUPPORT OBLIGATIONS IN OHIO

What if you are the “payor” or “obligor” and have a spousal support (alimony) or child support obligation in Ohio and you have lost your job or your wages have been cut because of our Covid Virus situation? You may not be able to keep up with all of your obligations. If you can’t keep up you should know that the court is not going to just “know” that and automatically adjust for your particular situation.

What if you are the child support or spousal support recipient in Ohio and you have lost your job or your wages have been cut because of our Covid Virus situation? You may not be able to keep up with all of your obligations and, even if you are receiving the child support or spousal support due you, you may be able to apply for a modification and have what is payable to you increased. You also should know that the court is not going to just “know” your situation and automatically adjust it.

Did you know that if you are not able to pay your child support or spousal support and don’t file a motion now you won’t be able to file one later and “go back to now”? Did you know that if you want to increase your child support or spousal support and don’t file a motion now you won’t be able to file one later and “go back to now”? Reductions and even increases in support obligations cannot apply to any arrearages or needs existing before a motion for a reduction increase was filed.

For child support, the amount can be changed when the amount calculated is different by 10% from what was calculated the last time around. (This could mean that the support is 10% more or 10% less than it was before and therefore there is a “change of circumstances” which would merit the court looking at the child support payable). Child support may also be changed if there is some other “change in circumstances” and lack of income would seem to qualify for a change in circumstances under our current situation with the Covid virus.

If spousal support has been ordered, and the court retained jurisdiction over that issue, to modify the amount or terms the decree must contain a provision

authorizing the court to modify the amount or terms. . R.C. 3105.18(E).

So, ror spousal support, the first thing to look at, when deciding whether a motion should be filed, is whether the court making the spousal support order reserved jurisdiction to change the order in the future as to the length of time or amount payable. If you have a court which retained jurisdiction then when you file your motion the court will be considering the following in Ohio:

When you have a motion regarding Spousal Support before the Court, it will, in considering a change in circumstances, consider any increase or involuntary decrease in income or expenses.R.C. 3105.18(F)(1).

That change, however, has to be substantial also make the present spousal support Order

no longer reasonable and appropriate. R.C. 3105.18(F)(1)(a).

In addition, the change must be one that was not taken into account as a basis for the existing award when it was established (regardless of whether it was foreseeable). R.C. 3105.18(F)(1)(b) (but this Covid situation is certainly one which was not foreseeable and it is doubtful that anyone anticipated this as a basis for the original Order.

The Court, in consideration of a motion to Modify will also consider any purpose expressed in the initial order in determining whether to modify it.

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