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Family Law: Emergency Rule Regarding Effective Date to Modify Support in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic


Court proceedings have taken quite a turn since March, when the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent in California. State courts have implemented a number of emergency orders to restrict public gatherings and to better enact social distancing/shelter in place. One of these measures is in regards to child support modifications. Many families are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table as their finances get slashed from losing jobs. Paying parents are suffering too. In either case, a modification to a support order can help, but because of court closures, they are unable to do so, or have been unable to figure out how to do so during these complex times. An experienced San Jose child support modification attorney can help.

Child Support Modification Law Vs. The Current COVID-19 Emergency Rule

  • The child support modification law: Generally, the earliest the order could become effective was the date of the Petition or the date the requested order was filed with the court, or served on the other party.
  • The current child support modification emergency rule: Allows courts to make a modification of support effective on the date it was mailed or served to the other party. And, the party that is requesting the modification also has to serve the request a second time after it is filed with the court.

Why the Courts Changed the Law

Nearly four million Californians have filed for unemployment at the time of this writing, according to Mercury News. The actual number of people who have lost their jobs is actually much higher. Millions more have suffered income cuts due to working fewer shift hours, taking salary cuts, and losing gig work/contract work. Due to this mass job loss caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, many parties have reduced incomes and are now unable to meet their child support obligations. At the same time, those requesting a support modification that is retroactive to the date it was requested—have not been able to modify support due to court closures. Time is of the essence, and those seeking support orders do not have the resources to wait day after day or week after week for a request for modification to be approved by the court. By then, they may have been forced to miss rent deadlines or had to go without groceries. This new rule allows the modification to take hold the date it was mailed or served to the other party. In some cases, this can result in weeks of much needed backdated support, or allow the supporting parent financial relief.

Call a San Jose Child Support Modification Attorney Today

If you are struggling to make ends meet, an experienced San Jose child support attorney at Foster Hsu, LLP can help. To schedule a consultation, call 408-841-7200 today.


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