A person seeking to modify their support obligations must demonstrate a change in circumstances which took place after the support obligation was imposed. Our courts only enforce orders or agreements to the extent they are fair and equitable. If an individual’s income has substantially decreased, leading to a conclusion that the initial support amount is no longer fair or equitable, the court is empowered to provide relief. While the reduction might only be temporary given the temporary nature of the change, the court will nonetheless seek a remedy that addresses current economic realities.
Any decision on this issue needs to be based on an analysis of the facts presented. Spouses, even in a post-judgement setting, have ongoing duties to be fair to each other. The question of the appropriate judicial response to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic emphasizes the challenges we face due to the devastation caused by widespread losses or reductions in income, and the uncertainty inherent in those changes.