The coronavirus relief bill will allow for cash payments to assist people going through a crisis. Owing back taxes, student loans or other debt to the government won’t bar any individual who earns less than $75,000 from collecting on this $1,200-per-person, $500-per-child relief. However, owing New Jersey back child support will. Our Freehold child support lawyers understand this is the only administrative offset that will be enforced.
NBC News reports nationally about 3 million people will be affected. These individuals will see their checks, expected to be released over the next three weeks, either reduced or eliminated. Checks may take longer for individuals who are not signed up for direct bank deposits with the IRS.
The U.S. Treasury Department oversees a program, established by law in 1996, through which it can collect on overdue child support by either withholding or cutting federal payments as an offset. Child support agencies from each state share child support information with the Treasury indicating which individuals are behind and by how much. This data will be factored into federal coronavirus cash relief.
How the Coronavirus is Affecting New Jersey Child Support
Parents who are mandated by law to pay child support, the coronavirus pandemic may well disrupt your child support payments, but it isn’t likely to fully suspend your financial obligations.
Many New Jersey residents face fiscal uncertainty. Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 107 shut down all non-essential retail businesses and ordered people to stay home to reduce the spread of the virus. These so-called “shelter-in-place” measures resulted in layoffs and furloughs for thousands of workers – including those responsible to pay child support. This is undoubtedly going to mean some parents won’t be able to make their child support payments on time.
The flip side of this is custodial parents who rely on that support are going to potentially be placed in dire straights if they don’t receive them.
The New Jersey Department of Human Services Reports makes special note of the following:
- Child support payments in New Jersey continue to be processed. The state’s Family Support Services Center is available via phone between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., but call wait times are extremely long. Some information can also be obtained at caseinfo.njchildsupport.org.
- Courts and social service agencies are conducting both hearings and appointments remotely and office hours might be adjusted. Local courthouses and/or social service agencies can give you details regarding schedules and availability. If you have a scheduled court date, contact your New Jersey child support attorney.
- While the New Jersey Family Support Payment Center is still printing and collecting checks, cash payments stopped being accepted at local offices effective March 23rd. Online payment options are still available.
- Child support proceedings are still being conducted via video or phone conference whenever possible.
Requesting a Child Support Modification
Failure to pay child support has the potential to result in penalties that range from fines to imprisonment. Although the state department of children and services doesn’t have the authority to temporarily suspend child support payments (only the courts can do that). However, in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, the department is likely to weigh on a case-by-case basis whether enforcement of these orders should be pursued.
Parents should keep careful records of their income (or lack thereof) and the dates of their employment, furlough and layoff. Child support enforcement workers should be provided with verification of unemployment. Our Freehold child support attorneys can help you file for a modification of child support.
Contact us at (732) 810-0034 or email us through our website.