Q: Will a parent or spouse who lost their job due to COVID still be required to pay child support or alimony?
A: The short answer is probably yes, so long as the payor is capable of earning an income. If not, the court may look to that parties’ assets. A party who has lost their job due to COVID still must prove they’ve suffered a material change in circumstance. “Material” is determined by the court on a case-by-case basis looking at the totality of the parties’ financial circumstances. A loss of employment due to COVID will most likely be viewed as a material change in circumstance. However, the payor should try, to the extent possible, to continue to make some payment.
Q: How important is a custody evaluator in a child custody dispute?
A: Their opinions are significant. The court will hear their testimony and read their report. The evaluator will interview the parents and child [depending on age], interview witnesses, review school and medical records, and visit the home of each parent to observe interaction with the child. The evaluator notes positive and negative interactions in discipline, the child’s appearance, home cleanliness, etc. Evaluators meet with each parent to obtain as much information as they can assessing personality types, each parent’s particular knowledge of their child’s needs, etc. A highly trained evaluator knows that some parents will say anything to obtain/retain custody. A neutral evaluator provides the court with an objective assessment of the child’s needs and whether each parent is meeting them.
Known for his passion representing the "underdog" in family law cases, Mr. Greenblatt earned many awards and the highest rating from Martindale Hubbell. Named one of the top 25 divorce attorneys in the metro area, he is a well-known teacher, lecturer and author on family law issues.