This is the next post in a series of articles discussing the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child support obligations in Las Vegas, Nevada. My previous article explained why any changes authorized by the Court based upon COVID-related factors, such as temporary or permanent job loss, will be revisited by the Court on a periodic basis. This is because the Court will likely view any such modification as temporary relief for the affected parent. As the economy recovers, the expectation will be that support will return to pre-pandemic levels. In this article, I will discuss the process for requesting a child support modification. If you need assistance, contact my office to speak with an attorney.
The first step in having a child support obligation reduced is filing a motion, with the Court, requesting a hearing and stating the reasons justifying the request. As discussed previously in this series, a parent who has experienced a significant change in circumstances may request a modification to an existing child support order. Under normal circumstances, a long-term or permanent change of 20 percent change or more in income would be sufficient enough to justify a modification. Given the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and employment, the Court may consider temporary income loss due to layoffs or pandemic-related closures as a valid reason for such a request.
At the hearing, a Judge will review documentation submitted by the requesting party demonstrating their new financial situation. The requesting party must prove that their circumstances have changed so significantly that they can no longer meet their current obligation. Depending upon the specific facts and circumstances of the case, the Judge’s decision can go one of several ways. They may deny the request outright if the parent’s income has not changed significantly enough or that they have other resources available to continue to make their payments. In the context of the pandemic, if the requesting party has been laid off but expects to be reinstated in their job at some point in the future, a Judge may temporarily reduce payments but require that the parent report to the Court periodically about their employment status. If the layoff is permanent, the parent will be required to make every effort to find new employment immediately. A parent who is still employed but works in an industry in which salaries or earnings have been drastically reduced, such as the hospitality industry, may be granted an adjustment in payments accordingly. Where COVID-related modifications are granted, the Court will likely require periodic reviews and adjust payments to pre-pandemic levels once the parent returns to work or their situation improves.
It is important to remember that requests for modifying child support payments can be challenged by the other parent and such matters can become contentious. The Court will review both parties’ finances, job skills, employability, etc. during the hearing. An experienced attorney can help ensure that your case is presented to the Judge with the appropriate supporting documentation and other evidence required to establish your position. My office is dedicated to helping Las Vegas families in such matters. I take pride in providing the highest level of service to my clients. If you need assistance, contact us today to schedule a consultation.