Clients want to know how to protect their child and/or spousal support rights during the coronavirus. Many people have lost their jobs and cannot comply with their court orders regarding support, or they need to obtain more support than their current court order provides. Since many of the courts are closed, and it is difficult to get a court hearing right away, spouses/parents need to work out new ways to protect their rights. We recommend that the parties prepare a “Stipulation and Order” to preserve both parties’ rights to retroactivity.
Normally, if a support order needs to be modified due to a change of circumstances over their income/earnings the party would file a “Request for Order” with the courts. The date that the document is filed in the court is usually the date the court uses for the start date that the modified support order begins. A “Stipulation and Order” regarding retroactivity over support can state a specific “date of filing” within the stipulation for purposes of retroactive support payments, and the parties can stipulate to an interim modification during the crisis and know that after this is all over, they will be entitled to additional money owed or reimbursement for overpayments. The parties can use the date stated in their “Stipulation and Order” regarding retroactivity over support for a later accounting, or “true-up”. Oftentimes, competent counsel on both sides can run a DissoMaster to calculate the retroactive support after this crisis has passed based on the parties’ actual earnings. This saves each party several thousands of dollars in litigation when money is the most scarce. Even if parties can’t agree on a modified amount of support, they can often agree to stipulate to the retroactive date and save the money spent on litigation. Only if the parties cannot agree, do we need to file a “Request for Order.”
Reach out to our compassionate child custody team today at (818) 462-5076 to schedule a consultation with one of our trusted attorneys.