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
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?
- 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.
Two states include make-up time: Ohio and Oregon.
North Carolina, declares both parents must consent to any changes in parenting time.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
|State||Issued by:||Date||Parenting Time or|
|Child Support||Suspension of Drivers License/Bank Levy/Passport|
|Alabama||Supreme Court||3/14/2020||Emergency orders||No reference||No reference|
|Alaska||Office of Children Services: Office of Children's Services||3/27/2020||Traveling for exchanges allowed||No reference||No reference|
Dept Economic Security
|No reference to legal remedy.|
|Arkansas||Office of Child Support Enforcement||3/20/2020|
Closed to public
|No reference||No reference||No reference|
|California||Child Support Services||3/16/2020||No reference||Seek modification if unable to pay||3/17/2020: Existing orders on hold. A stay for pending suspension/levy and to contact CSS for help in stopping order in process|
|Colorado||Office of economic security: Division of Child Support Services||n.d.||No reference||No reference||No reference|
on Judicial Branch page
|3/30/2020||No reference||No reference||No reference|
|Delaware||Child 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 payments||No reference|
|Florida||Department of Revenue||Limited services||No reference||Acknowledges nonpayment concerns||Acknowledges nonpayment concerns|
|Georgia||Division of Child Support Services||3/14/2020 to 4/13/2020|
|No reference||No reference||No reference|
|Hawaii||Child Support Enforcement Agency||Office closed to 5/1/2020||No reference||Offers payment options while office is closed||Offers contact info for passport denial|
|Idaho||Governor||3/23/2020||No reference||Withholding from Pandemic pay||No reference|
|Illinois||Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services||Until further notice||No reference||No reference||No reference|
|Indiana||Indy Governor Community page||not stated||No reference||No reference||No reference|
Ct closed 3/17/2020
|Closed school does not change schedule||No reference||No reference|
|Kansas||Kansas Department for Children and Families||3/23/2020- until further notice||No reference||No reference||No reference|
|Kentucky||Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services||3/28/2020||Traveling for court ordered visits allowed|
Saturday and online services avail beginning 3/28/2020
|Louisiana||Department of Children and Family Services||3/24/2020||No reference||No reference|
encourages employers and parents sett up electronic payment service if not in place
|Maine||Division of Support Enforcement and Recovery (DSER)||3/17/2020-4/30/2020||Video services for supervised visits offered. Time period dependent on age of child.||No reference||No reference|
|Maryland||Maryland Judiciary||3/25/2020||Orders still in effect||Orders still in effect||No reference|
|Massachusetts||3/16/2020-4/21/2020||No reference||Contact DOR if a change in financial circumstances||No reference|
|Michigan||Supreme Court||3/16/2020||Orders still in force||Orders still in force||No reference|
|Minnesota||Department of Health||3/27/2020-5/1/2020||No reference||No reference||Suspension of new orders for driver and occupational license Stay issued for 90 days (CVC12)|
|Mississippi||Department of Human Services||3/21/2020||No reference||Contact office with immediate concerns.||No reference|
|Missouri||Stay at Home Order #10|
|No reference||No reference||No reference|
|Montana||Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED)||3/19/2020||No reference||Payments will be processed.||No reference|
|Nebraska||Nebraska Child Support Payment Center||3/27/2020||No reference||No reference||No reference|
|Nevada||Office of Child Support Enforcement||3/23/2020||No reference||No reference||No reference|
|New Hampshire||Division of Child Support Services||3/18/2020||No reference||No reference||No reference|
|New York||Child Support Program||3/23/2020||No reference||No reference|
(indicates longer wait times when calling)
|North Carolina||Department of Human and Health Services||3/20/2020|
Reprieve from sanction effective 3/18/2020
|Request consent from parent to cease in-person visitation||Sanctions should not be issued and current orders lifted||bank levy process suspended effective March 18, 2020 until further notice. Any FIDM levy initiated on or after March 1, 2020 is lifted.|
|North Dakota||Child Support Human Services||3/20/2020||No reference||Contact info if financially impacted by COVID-19||No reference|
|Ohio||Department of Job and Family Services||3/16/2020|
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 suspend||Data match freeze on case by case basis for bank levy and drivers and professional licenses|
|Oklahoma||Oklahoma Human Services||3/25/2020-4/30/2020||No reference||No reference||No reference|
|Oregon||Statewide Family Law Advisory Committee (SFLAC)|
Genetic testing suspended
|3/27/2020||yes, traveling for exchanges.|
Makeup time: yes
Supervised time: yes
Suggests video calls if necessary.
|No reference||Notify worker re: inability to pay|
|Pennsylvania||Department of Human Services||3/19/2020- TBD||Exchanges allowed||No reference||No reference|
|Rhode Island||Office of Child Support Services||3/9/2020-4/13/2020||No reference||No reference||No reference|
|South Carolina||Department of Social Services: Child Support Services Division||3/31/2020||No reference||No reference||No reference|
|South Dakota||Division of Child Support||3/24/2020||No reference||DCS merging credit card ap to streamline payments||No reference|
|Tennessee||3/24/2020||No reference||No reference||No reference|
|No reference||No reference|
|Utah||Department of Human Services||3/21/2020- end dates vary by County||No reference||No reference||No reference|
|Vermont||Agency of Human Services: Department for Children and Families||3/13/2020-4/15/2020|
genetic testing suspended
|Contact legal rep with questions.||Income reduction: review case as needed. Online payments only||Contact case worker|
|Virginia||Department of Child Support Services (DCSE)||3/19/2020||Traveling for exchanges allowed||Review available due to job loss for modification||No reference|
|Washington||Economic Services Administration: Department of Social and Health Services||3/10/2020||No reference||Discusses stimulus check and child support owed||No reference|
|West Virginia||Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Child Support Enforcement||3/26/2020||No reference||automatic match w/ unemployment for interruptions in income. And, contacts employer to cease w/holding||No reference|
|Wisconsin||Department of Children and Families||3/27/2020||No reference||Interest debt added to existing balance||No new cases added to lien docket, effective March 1.|
|Wyoming||Department of Family Services||3/19/2020||No reference||Presents updated payment info||No reference|
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