Can I change child support payments during the Covid-19 pandemic?

The shutdown for thousands of workers due to the Covid-19 pandemic has had significant economic impacts, but what about support obligations more specifically?

First, it is necessary to determine in what situation the debtor (or the creditor) is.

It should be remembered that child support is calculated on the parents’ annual income and the number of dependent children.
If there is a permanent job loss, then it will most likely be a significant change allowing the review of child or spousal support. However, you must be careful before asking too quickly a request for modification of the support payments since it is possible that the financial situation stabilizes by itself, for example if the debtor (or creditor) finds a new job with similar conditions. It should also be considered that the other party may also have income variations related to the pandemic.

If there is a temporary layoff due to the pandemic and you are already back at work or know your date of return, you should wait until the end of the year to see the real impact it will have had on your annual income. In fact, many people are already back on the job market and have only received the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for a few weeks, which annually may or may not represent a slight difference, all depending on the salary usually earned.

If there is a temporary layoff but it is likely that the business will close due to the pandemic or that no short-term date is known for return to work, the situation is more nebula. It will be necessary to demonstrate a significant change justifying an emergency request (safeguard order) in order to modify the support payments. Everything will be left to the discretion of the Court and each case is different.

If there is a drop in income but the person continues to work, the debtor will have to demonstrate the urgency that the support payments be reviewed and that the change is significant enough and a long duration enough for there to be a modification. The court may also look the assets of the parties in establishing the income.

On the other hand, for those who pay childcare costs included in support payments when there is none due to the pandemic, this should be considered too.

Finally, before undertaking any procedures, mediation is strongly advised, especially during the pandemic. It can be done remotely by videoconference. For a review of a judgment (or your last mediation agreement) due to covid-19, you are entitled to 2.5 hours of free service if you still have dependent children. Our mediators can help you. Do not hesitate to call us at 450-844-8808 or email us at .

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Text drafted by Me Roxane Trudel-Pigeon