I was laid off. I can't afford child support payments. What now?
Almost instantly, the Coronavirus pandemic paused the United States economy. As a result of Governor Brown’s shelter-in-place order, almost all school and business were required to shut down indefinitely. Economists estimate that, at this pace, the national unemployment rate could reach 30 percent, or about ten times what it was before the pandemic hit. Clearly, these closures –regardless of their ultimate duration –affect the ability for many employees to pay Oregon child support.
Those who are responsible for making child support payments may be able to obtain temporary or permanent relief from making child support payments. However, the first step is to take action; courts will have little sympathy for those who miss payments without providing notice to their case manager.
While an Oregon child support order is final once handed down by a judge, modifications can be made when either party can prove that they experienced a “substantial change in circumstance.” While Oregon lawmakers did not provide a clear definition of what constitutes a substantial change, typically an unanticipated job loss will meet the definition. Of course, if an employee is furloughed, or is working a reduced schedule, the situation can become more complicated. Generally, when a court finds that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the issuance of the original child support order, it will then revisit its previous decision, considering the new information.
It is very important that anyone who is having trouble making Oregon child support payments due to COVID-related job loss reach out to their case manager to explain the situation. Once someone gets behind in their payments, the situation only becomes more difficult. By reaching out to a dedicated Oregon divorce attorney in advance, laid off employees can potentially reduce or eliminate their child support payments.