The Impact of the Coronavirus Shutdown on Alimony and Child Support Orders

Pullman & Comley, LLC

The world has changed in the past two weeks. The support agreement you negotiated in 2018 or 2019 may be in jeopardy. With the economy in a state of turmoil, the coronavirus already has impacted many people’s weekly earnings. With the court closures, many family law practitioners have sought guidance from the Superior Court on the steps that can be taken now to preserve a claim for the retroactive application of child support and alimony modifications. Are these requests the harbinger of a coming deluge of post-judgment motions seeking alimony and child support modifications? Time will tell.

Alimony and child support modifications are not guaranteed—even where there has been a job loss or income disruption. In certain circumstances, the Superior Court may base a support payment on an “earning capacity” as opposed to that person’s actual earnings. For business owners subject to support orders, modification proceedings can be particularly complex. In many of these cases, expert witnesses can be successfully utilized to establish or contest a claimed decrease in a business owner’s compensation. We work closely with our clients and have access to the region’s most trusted forensic accounting and valuation experts.

Pullman & Comley attorneys have been closely monitoring the many developing implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for businesses and for professionals, including law firms. The firm’s FOCUS page for the latest COVID-19 advisories may be found here.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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