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    Is Child Support Mediation Currently A Better Choice Than Waiting For A Court Decision During The Covid Crisis?

    In Florida, child support is based on both parents’ income, daycare costs, health insurance premiums, and the balance of custody, in an average situation. Many of us have struggled during this pandemic and, as we can see from our unemployment rates, joblessness has increased during this time which greatly upsets the balance of your support agreement. Our current situation is anything but average, and we can easily find ourselves unable to maintain our responsibilities, through no fault of our own.

    Our goal is to provide for our children as well as we can, but what options do we have when it comes to paying child support if our hours are cut or if we lose our jobs due to the virus and cannot pay our former spouse the money that our children are entitled to? How can we modify our plan, even just temporarily, when the court system is either closed or limited at this time?

    Mediation

    Mediation in the presence of lawyers may be a great answer if you have a positive and constructive parenting relationship with your former partner. You can work together, through discussion, compromise, and guidance from your lawyer, to create a temporary plan for the remainder of your hardship. This plan can be worded into a contract that backs up your claims and sets forth a plan for the future.

    Mediation consists of sitting down with a mediator, a lawyer, or even both, along with your former partner to create a new, or temporary, agreement that benefits you and supports your child fairly and diplomatically. Arguments can be settled peacefully and your co-parenting relationship may become even stronger during this time, even if we must meet via computer instead of in person.

    Working together in this more informal way can be very beneficial and allow you both to discuss specifics on what you can afford and what you are experiencing, as opposed to leaving these important decisions up to a formal court that may take months to get into and force a decision upon you that may not help. Mediation with the aid of lawyers can get you what you need, when you need it, while keeping you out of the court system as much as possible.

    During mediation, you can come to an agreement to lower your current child support payments through understandable hardship while agreeing to make up the difference later, for example. Your lawyers can work out all the legalities to help you through this temporary situation and keep you from having to go to court. Barring any further unforeseen circumstances, this is the quickest way to go.

    Child Support Modification

    If your relationship with your former spouse is contentious or precarious, then applying for a child support modification with the courts may be your best bet and it will be essential to have a trusted and experienced lawyer by your side to protect your interests. Unfortunately, many of our court systems are open and working only on necessary cases due to the parameters incurred by the pandemic.

    Sometimes child support issues are not seen as necessary during a time of such emergency and you will be forced to wait for a dialogue with a judge while falling further and further into debt, or arrears, which will only hurt you in the future. But, for some of us, this may be our only choice if we cannot legitimately trust our former spouses and if your current situation does not seem to be temporary.

    A court-determined child support modification is not a negative answer to your current problem and can even be the endgame to the mediation process. But it is one that will take much time, and most likely, at a higher monetary cost to you as you must keep paying the child support at the current rate during your wait. The best way to weigh the pros and cons of your decisions is to meet with a realistic and compassionate lawyer who is fully aware of all recent court changes and will work with you to ensure that they are guiding you in the right direction.

    Call Us For Such Guidance

    Contact us at the Law Offices of Ronald M. Zakarin if you are ready to discuss your options in a free scheduled session. We have not stopped learning and adapting to the new world we find ourselves in and we can see, feel, and understand the changes that affect our community.

    Our dedication to supporting you and guiding you through difficult situations, such as an economic downshift, has not waned.  Let us help you figure out the best way to support your children during this difficult time. It’s what we’re here for and exactly what we have been trained to do.