By: Felipe Mavromatis, Esq.

As the days continue to rise for the Government Shutdown, federal employees and contractors are growing increasingly concerned. Rightfully so, as the shutdown is having an unanticipated ripple effect in all aspects of their lives.

While banks, credit unions, and credit card providers are providing financial relief to many struggling to make ends meet, some financial obligations are unavoidable and carry serious consequences for failure to pay–specifically, child support and alimony.

Failure to pay child support and/or alimony, even in a justifiable situation such as a government shutdown, may have dire consequences. Your child support and alimony accounts will begin accruing arrearages and accompanying interest upon your first missed payment.

What should I be doing if I can no longer afford child support and/or alimony?

  • First and foremost, you should contact your former spouse or partner and notify them that you have been affected by the government shutdown. Your ex is likely more willing to work with you if you contact him or her early.
  • While you may be unable to meet your entire financial obligation to your children and former spouse, try and make a good faith effort of paying some amount, with priority going to your child support obligation. Even a nominal amount is better than ZERO. If your Final Judgment requires you to make payments directly to your ex, make sure you do it via check or electronic transfer or a similar method. DO NOT PAY your obligation in cash, unless you get a signed receipt by your ex.
  • Consider filing an expedited motion to temporarily abate or stop your child support/alimony obligation.
  • If your child support and/or alimony obligation hasn’t been revisited in a while, consider speaking with an attorney on whether a modification is warranted.