Emergency Rule Regarding Effective Date to Modify Support in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shelter-in-place order issued by the governor of California, many individuals have lost their jobs. Typically, when an individual loses a job and they have a child or spousal support obligation, they can file a motion with the Court to modify the support order. Although the hearing date is typically set months after the motion is filed, the court can modify support back to the filing date. The court has been closed since mid-March 2020 because of COVID-19 pandemic, and except for a few limited emergency issues, the court has not accepted any new filings, essentially forcing a party who has lost their job to continue paying a support order they may not be able to afford with no ability to modify that order.

However, on April 19, 2020, the Judicial Council of California adopted California Rule of Court, Emergency Rule 13. This emergency rule allows parties preserve the retroactive ability to modify support in family law cases during the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This emergency rule will temporarily allow a court to make an order modifying support retroactive to the date an unfiled motion to modify support was properly served on the other party instead of the filing date. The legislature recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis, and given the length of time the pandemic may impact California, parties with support orders need to be able to protect their rights.

If you have a support obligation and your income has been impacted recently it is extremely important that you contact your attorney immediately to get your paperwork drafted and served on the other side; otherwise, your support obligation will NOT change even though your income has.  Call or contact us for further information.

Click here to view the Court’s Emergency Rules Related to Covid-19