Bellenot & Boufford, LLC
COVID-19 & Financial Modifications – Should I bother filing now?
The Law Firm of Bellenot & Boufford: Serving Connecticut Since 1990
COVID-19 AND FINANCIAL MODIFICATIONS – SHOULD I BOTHER FILING NOW?
Many people are unable to make their court ordered payments due to the current crisis. While it is very likely that the courts will be particularly understanding when hearing future contempt motions, it does not mean that the past due amounts go away. Current court orders are accruing and are expected to be met. Just because no contempt finding may be made does not mean you are not going to be left with a huge arrearage amount that has to be paid off. Filing a timely motion to modify could reduce that arrearage significantly.
Most modifications (changes in court orders) are only retroactive back to the date of service on the other party. That means that even if everyone agrees (even the judge) that a financial order should have and could have been changed earlier, no one (not even the judge) will be able to afford that relief prior to the date of service of the motion asking for the modification. What does this mean for you? It means if a financial order should be changed in your favor (increase in child support or alimony or decrease in child support or alimony), then it’s likely that the sooner you file the motion, the better.
Yes, courts are only hearing limited matters and modifications in support are not included. But courts are still processing motions for a later date and marshals are still making service of process. Not only does initiating your action now help with retroactivity, but your case will be in the queue for when the courts resume normal functions. There is going to be a huge back-log of matters that need to be addressed in the months to come. Don’t wait and be sorry later.
And if you end up receiving full or near-full pay through unemployment or other financial stimulus aid, then the worst that happens is you do not proceed with the motion. A small amount of time, effort and cost now is worth the protection you will receive if your financial circumstances are not restored.