COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on billions of lives in many ways. Apart from the economic repercussions that many countries have experienced, more and more people can no longer support themselves financially. As a result, they also have difficulty supporting others, like their children, when they need it the most.
Given the tremendous unemployment rate, thousands of individuals have struggled to provide for themselves and their children and abide by the support orders they received before COVID-19. If you find yourself in this situation, be sure to get in touch with family lawyers, who can guide you through and find more ways to support you and your child.
Lack of Support Caused By COVID-19
Thousands of people have struggled to balance their loss of income with their responsibility to support their ex-spouse or children due to the devastating effects of COVID-19, which has rendered millions of people out of work. Conversely, as other people haven’t received such support, which for many is their only source of income, they cannot meet their everyday expenses. Worse, many of these people don’t have savings, as they are often stay-at-home parents, disabled, or those who have lost their jobs to the pandemic.
Unfortunately, many have court orders or agreements that required them to pay based on their pre-pandemic incomes even after losing their jobs but are no longer able to do so since they have lost their source of income. B.C.’s Family Maintenance and Enforcement Program has also worsened the situation since it is mandated to implement support orders or agreements if the payor cannot pay regardless of their situation. As such, the FMEP can confiscate important documents like passports and driver’s licences until the payor abides by the court order.
Seeking Support From Current Legislation
Adding to the already tragic situation is that B.C. courts have not prioritized support issues during their limited operations, which means that these concerns are going unaddressed and unheard. Although courts have expanded to hear non-urgent matters, they have been inundated with a backlog of cases held off due to the pandemic. As a result, individuals will have to wait several months or years to appeal to FMEP to halt pre-COVID support orders.
However, finally getting their day in court doesn’t guarantee a comprehensive solution to their situation. These individuals will still have to fulfill a strict legal test that states that a loss or reduction in income must be a lasting change. If it isn’t, the pre-pandemic agreement or order will remain even when the payor’s situation has changed significantly. These stipulations make it more difficult to prove whether COVID-19-induced unemployment is temporary and can be resolved soon or if it is permanent.
How Family Lawyers Can Help
Fortunately, family lawyers can advocate for these individuals by arguing for more durable solutions by courts, allowing them to ease child or spousal support implementation. Many individuals have been taking out loans to comply with these orders, but without enough income to repay them, they’ve become saddled with debt. By reducing the required amount, they can focus on getting back on their feet without taking on more loans than they can pay.
They can also help such individuals explore other legal ways for relieving their burden of having to pay, such as possibly negotiating with the ex-partner to halt support temporarily until the situation improves. For example, the inability to repay a debt for an extended period qualifies as a material change according to the Child and Spousal Support Guidelines, which can fall in favour of the struggling parent.
Child and spousal support orders have become more challenging to comply with due to the pandemic’s negative repercussions. However, working with a family lawyer in Langley will shed more light on the possible solutions you can explore to ease your situation as you focus on recovering and working towards financial stability during COVID-19.
Dreyer and Associates Lawyers LLP is committed to preserving the best interests of families across the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland through our specialization in child support, family law, asset division, marriage agreements, family mediation, and many more. With our wealth of experience, we work tirelessly to handle all your family law needs. Contact us today to find out how we can help you deal with child support during this unprecedented time.