COVID-19 and Child Support: State Guidelines – Update

FUANGuest Contributor, News & Events, News You Can Use

Covid-19 and Child Support

COVID-19 and Child Support is a vital topic for divorced parents today. FUAN has been given permission to republish this article by Ruth Nichols for the purpose of disseminating this information to the public. The original article was published on April 14, 2020, at Shared Parenting Info. We are sharing it on April 18, 2020.

COVID-19 and Child Support: State Guidelines

Apr 14, 2020 | Posted by Ruth A. S. Nichols, M.A., M.A., CFLE | Shared Parenting Info.com

Child support payments in the midst of COVID-19 are a critical topic.

In recognizing the burden some parents may experience due to the current economic crisis, this is an immediate issue to address at a state and national level. Some states are acknowledging the challenges many parents are facing at this time. 

Check out the chart below outlining the status of your state.

What are the three most important issues?

  1. Court Orders

Court orders will remain in place. Parenting plans, Court Orders and exchanges must proceed as ordered. Governors and child support enforcement offices should mandate that both parents comply with orders issued by the family court system. Establish appropriate penalties for non-compliance as determined by the state.

Make-up time is an issue for the courts to address. Many parents may experience changes in work schedules or self isolation for safety reasons. Streamlining a system for revising parenting plans are needed in each state. 

Current Status

Two states include make-up time: Ohio and Oregon. 

North Carolina, declares both parents must consent to any changes in parenting time.

  1. Child Support

Temporary modifications for collecting and paying child support are required for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. Some parents may be unable to pay child support due to quarantine, self-isolation or layoffs.  Accommodating the loss of income some parents are experiencing could alleviate potential court hearings.

Current Status

California and Florida, indicates parents should contact the child support division if unable to pay child support.

Vermont and Virginia claim reviews are available as needed.

Hawaii offers payment options while their office is closed.  North Carolina indicates there should be no penalty due to nonpayment.   

West Virginia offers to contact the employer of a parent stating unemployment benefits have been requested and to discontinue withholding of child support from paychecks.

Delaware offers hearings by phone for parents unable to meet their obligations.

  1. Driver’s License Suspension/Bank Levy for Nonpayment of Child Support

Child Support Enforcement Services should be encouraged to halt the automated enforcement actions of orders for a bank levy or driver’s license suspension due to nonpayment of child support.  Cease all new orders for a bank levy, or suspension of a driver’s license, and stop orders in process following the onset of COVID-19. Guidelines to be determined by the state.

Current Status

Three states recognize the suspension of driver’s license, a bank levy or passport: California, Minnesota and North Carolina.

Hawaii acknowledges a parent should contact the child support office if a passport has been denied or revoked.

Wisconsin is not adding any new cases during this time. Oregon and Vermont indicates parents should call a case worker if unable to pay child support.

Iowa indicates a 90 day hold will be placed on cases due to nonpayment of child support.  This is a verbal only and has not been officially released by government officials.  Upon written confirmation, information will be added to the table.  If you reside in Iowa, please reach out to your child support office to discuss potential options.

Who must address the three issues?

This is a state matter. Each state must acknowledge the three areas and create guidelines for parents and families to follow with child support matters, parenting time and subsequent actions for nonpayment of child support.

How can states protect families during this economic crisis?

Government directives, executive orders from child support enforcement divisions and temporary guidelines are in process in most states.  If you are experiencing challenges with parenting time, or paying child support, please contact your child support office for assistance.  Notably, the courts will be inundated with regular court dates and with the modifications needed during the COVID-19 crisis.  States are updating their policies.  Please contact the office in your area for current information.

What is Being Done in Other States?

Families United Action Network in Iowa requested Governor Reynolds address the urgent concerns regarding parenting plans and child support enforcement during the COVID-19 emergency. Notably, two days before the request was to be delivered, the Governor issued a Directive recommending parents comply with their current court orders.

The following table outlines the status in each state.  Notably, 5 states mention drivers license suspension and bank levies: California, Ohio, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. One state, Hawaii, references passports.

Setting Up a Plan in Your State

Check the plan in your state. If all three matters are not addressed seek support in drafting a request for your state representatives. Nicholas Dreeszen, President of Families United Action Network in Iowa, acknowledges this is an issue each state needs to address. “The economic crisis resulting from COVID-19 can have long-term ramifications for parents and families across the nation. We invite leaders seeking similar changes to use the Directive as a template for creating change in their state. By sharing our ideas and energy and working together, we can help change the future. We at FUAN are available to help anyone seeking help with this important issue.”


The table below shows the information for each State including the date of executive order, and status on each of the three matters. Keep in mind, states are updating their information and the data may need to be updated. 

Please feel free to forward updates for your state.  We are in this together and must be united in making the necessary changes across the nation. 

StateIssued by:DateParenting Time or
Modification
Child SupportSuspension of Drivers License/Bank Levy/Passport
AlabamaSupreme Court3/14/2020Emergency ordersNo referenceNo reference
Alaska
Office of Children Services: Office of Children's Services3/27/2020Traveling for exchanges allowedNo referenceNo reference
Arizona

Dept Economic Security
4/1/2020
call first
No reference to legal remedy.
Guidelines
FormsNo reference
ArkansasOffice of Child Support Enforcement3/20/2020
Closed to public
No referenceNo referenceNo reference
CaliforniaChild Support Services3/16/2020No referenceSeek modification if unable to pay3/17/2020: Existing orders on hold. A stay for pending suspension/levy and to contact CSS for help in stopping order in process
ColoradoOffice of economic security: Division of Child Support Servicesn.d.No referenceNo referenceNo reference
ConnecticutLimited Services
on Judicial Branch page
3/30/2020No referenceNo referenceNo reference
DelawareChild Support Enforcement Agency
3/23/2020 to 5/1/2020
Reschedule genetic testing for April
Traveling for exchanges deemed ‘essential'Hearings conducted by phone.Drop box created for paymentsNo reference
FloridaDepartment of Revenue
Limited servicesNo referenceAcknowledges nonpayment concernsAcknowledges nonpayment concerns
GeorgiaDivision of Child Support Services3/14/2020 to 4/13/2020
Limited ability
No referenceNo referenceNo reference
HawaiiChild Support Enforcement AgencyOffice closed to 5/1/2020No referenceOffers payment options while office is closedOffers contact info for passport denial
IdahoGovernor3/23/2020No referenceWithholding from Pandemic payNo reference
IllinoisIllinois Department of Healthcare and Family ServicesUntil further noticeNo referenceNo referenceNo reference
IndianaIndy Governor Community pagenot statedNo referenceNo referenceNo reference
IowaSupreme Court
Item #6
3/28/2020
Ct closed 3/17/2020
Closed school does not change scheduleNo referenceNo reference
KansasKansas Department for Children and Families3/23/2020- until further noticeNo referenceNo referenceNo reference
KentuckyKentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services3/28/2020Traveling for court ordered visits allowed
Saturday and online services avail beginning 3/28/2020
No reference
LouisianaDepartment of Children and Family Services3/24/2020No referenceNo reference
encourages employers and parents sett up electronic payment service if not in place
No reference
MaineDivision of Support Enforcement and Recovery (DSER)3/17/2020-4/30/2020Video services for supervised visits offered. Time period dependent on age of child.No referenceNo reference
MarylandMaryland Judiciary3/25/2020Orders still in effectOrders still in effectNo reference
Massachusetts3/16/2020-4/21/2020No referenceContact DOR if a change in financial circumstancesNo reference
MichiganSupreme Court3/16/2020Orders still in forceOrders still in forceNo reference
MinnesotaDepartment of Health3/27/2020-5/1/2020No referenceNo referenceSuspension of new orders for driver and occupational license Stay issued for 90 days (CVC12)
MississippiDepartment of Human Services3/21/2020No referenceContact office with immediate concerns.No reference
MissouriStay at Home Order #10
Transport child
3/13/2020 to
4/17/2020
No referenceNo referenceNo reference
MontanaChild Support Enforcement Division (CSED)3/19/2020No referencePayments will be processed.No reference
NebraskaNebraska Child Support Payment Center3/27/2020No referenceNo referenceNo reference
NevadaOffice of Child Support Enforcement3/23/2020No referenceNo referenceNo reference
New HampshireDivision of Child Support Services3/18/2020No referenceNo referenceNo reference
New YorkChild Support Program3/23/2020No referenceNo reference
(indicates longer wait times when calling)
No reference
North CarolinaDepartment of Human and Health Services3/20/2020
Reprieve from sanction effective 3/18/2020
Request consent from parent to cease in-person visitationSanctions should not be issued and current orders liftedbank levy process suspended effective March 18, 2020 until further notice. Any FIDM levy initiated on or after March 1, 2020 is lifted.
North DakotaChild Support Human Services3/20/2020No referenceContact info if financially impacted by COVID-19No reference
OhioDepartment of Job and Family Services3/16/2020
genetic testing allowed by appt
Must follow court order or found in contempt. Makeup hours for missed time.Allows travel for exchanges.Financial corrections and services available as needed. Directive states “not suspendData match freeze on case by case basis for bank levy and drivers and professional licenses
OklahomaOklahoma Human Services3/25/2020-4/30/2020No referenceNo referenceNo reference
OregonStatewide Family Law Advisory Committee (SFLAC)
Genetic testing suspended
3/27/2020yes, traveling for exchanges.
Makeup time: yes
Supervised time: yes
Suggests video calls if necessary.
No referenceNotify worker re: inability to pay
PennsylvaniaDepartment of Human Services3/19/2020- TBDExchanges allowedNo referenceNo reference
Rhode IslandOffice of Child Support Services3/9/2020-4/13/2020No referenceNo referenceNo reference
South CarolinaDepartment of Social Services: Child Support Services Division3/31/2020No referenceNo referenceNo reference
South DakotaDivision of Child Support3/24/2020No referenceDCS merging credit card ap to streamline paymentsNo reference
Tennessee3/24/2020No referenceNo referenceNo reference
TexasSupreme Court3/13/2020
expires:
5/20/2020
Modifications
referenced
No referenceNo reference
UtahDepartment of Human Services3/21/2020- end dates vary by CountyNo referenceNo referenceNo reference
VermontAgency of Human Services: Department for Children and Families3/13/2020-4/15/2020
genetic testing suspended
Contact legal rep with questions.Income reduction: review case as needed. Online payments onlyContact case worker
VirginiaDepartment of Child Support Services (DCSE)3/19/2020Traveling for exchanges allowedReview available due to job loss for modificationNo reference
WashingtonEconomic Services Administration: Department of Social and Health Services3/10/2020No referenceDiscusses stimulus check and child support owedNo reference
West VirginiaHealth and Human Resources, Bureau for Child Support Enforcement3/26/2020No referenceautomatic match w/ unemployment for interruptions in income. And, contacts employer to cease w/holdingNo reference
WisconsinDepartment of Children and Families3/27/2020No referenceInterest debt added to existing balanceNo new cases added to lien docket, effective March 1.
WyomingDepartment of Family Services3/19/2020No referencePresents updated payment infoNo reference
Horizontal scroll may be required on some devices to see all of the table.
State information will be updated as needed.  Please forward any comments, questions or updates to the comment section for this article or to: RNichols@TitleIVDandChildSupport.

Related Articles About This Topic at FamiliesUnite.org

Ruth Nichols was FUANs September 2019 Advocate of the Month

Here's an earlier post from Sherry Palmer on COVID-19 Guidelines


Image for Please Donate. Families United Action Network
You can make a difference. Support Family Law Reform