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Covid Virus Economic Changes And Support Obligations In Ohio

What if you have spousal support (alimony) or child support obligations in Ohio and have lost your job or your wage source has been cut because of our COVID Virus situation?

If you can’t keep up with your support obligations, know this:  The court is not going to “automatically adjust for your particular situation.

What if you are the child support recipient and have lost your job or wages have been cut because of the COVID-19 Virus situation?

If you are receiving the support you may have had things change so drastically that you can no longer make it financially even though you may be receiving the same amount of support. The court will not automatically help you either.

In either of the foregoing situations, the obligor or the obligee (payor or recipient) may be able to apply for a modification of support to have it decreased or increased. You need to file a motion to change support.

COVID-19 Virus Economic Changes And Support Obligations In Ohio

If you don’t file a motion now, to either increase or decrease support, you won’t be able to file one later and “go back to now”.  Court Orders regarding reductions and even increases in support cannot affect any arrearages or take care of any needs existing before a motion for a reduction or increase was filed.

Child Support

Child support 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.

Spousal Support

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 according to the Ohio statutes.

For 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, per the Ohio Statutes.

That change, however, must be substantial to make the present spousal support Order no longer reasonable and appropriate, per the Ohio Statutes.

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) per the statutes of Ohio) (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.

If you have a situation, in Ohio, where you believe that either the support you pay or the support you receive should be changed, you need to contact an experienced, knowledgeable, Ohio licensed Family Law Attorney to see if anything should be done.