Child Support In A Pandemic-Broken Economy

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One in five American workers filed for first-time unemployment benefits from mid-March to April 25, according to the most recent report from the U.S. Department of Labor,

“At the highest of levels of unemployment following the 2008 financial crisis, there were 15.3 million jobless Americans. But in the past five weeks, a staggering 26.5 million workers have already filed jobless claims,” wrote Lance Lambert in “Real Unemployment Rate Soars Past 20%” (Fortune, April 23, 2020).

Prior to March 13, there were already 7.1 million unemployed Americans, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “When the figures are combined, it would equal more than 33 million unemployed, or a real unemployment rate of 20.6% – which would be the highest level since 1934,” Lambert continued.

Just one year ago, the unemployment rate was 1.1% and the volume was 1,659,123.

This unemployment crisis means it is time to start thinking about child and spousal support orders. Courts are closed across the nation, making it more difficult to seek modifications of orders already in place. In California, the Court does not have jurisdiction to modify support orders until a party has sought to modify them by filing a formal motion (Fam. C. 3653 – the later of the motion to modify support or the date of unemployment). But many clerks’ offices are closed and are not processing new motions.

What does a support obligor do?