What If I Can't Pay My South Dakota Child Support During Coronavirus?

With thousands of workers across South Dakota losing their jobs in the wake of the Coronavirus, more and more people will find themselves in a situation where they are no longer able to make their court ordered child support payments. In just the last two weeks, there have been almost as many unemployment claims in South Dakota as were made in all of 2019, and the number of claims is expected to continue to rise. 

If you find yourself in this situation, you should consider requesting that a court modify the amount of child support you owe. In South Dakota, the circuit court is the only entity with authority to modify a child support obligation. Either parent may file a motion to modify their child support order. 

It is very important you keep in mind that a court can only modify child support back to the date that you file your motion to modify. So, for example, if your income drops in March, but you don’t file your motion until June, the court can only modify your child support payments starting with June, even though you also had a lower income for March, April, and May.

The state Division of Child Support Services is open for business and other mechanisms to enforce child support orders are still available, so it is important that you continue to do your best to pay the ordered amount of child support and file your motion to modify child support as soon as possible. The sooner you request a modification to child support, the sooner the court can lower the amount to fit your current economic reality. 

Brooke Swier Schloss
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Family Law and Estate Planning attorney helping families across South Dakota plan and protect their loved ones