Each day we read of more lay offs; wholesale lay offs in major financial institutions, retailers and the manufacturing industry. Each day we hear of more corporate bankruptcies. Major financial institutions that have the hallmark of financial stability suddenly no longer exist nor dot their thousands of jobs. Each day we hear differing projections as to whether we are in a "recession" and/or how long it will last.
Now we are told that the nation’s unemployment rate has hit an all time high–higher in actual numbers than any time in our history including the "Great Depression". What does this mean to divorced persons who are paying child support or alimony, and now find themselves unemployed? I still hear Courts saying that several month’s of unemployment is not "a change of circumstances", it is simply a "temporary" situation. "Temporary" is a very relative term to a person seeking employment in an economic environment where virtually every business is laying people off and no one is hiring.
I still see Courts continuing to impute income to persons who have no realistic likelihood of ever returning to their prior employment or former level of income. A worthy concept when people choose not to work, but how relevant is it when there is simply no work to be had? I still see Courts ordering the payment of support from IRA or investment accounts that have already been ravaged by the market. What resources will those persons have to support themselves in the years to come?
Why? Certainly not because the Courts are not aware of what we all read and hear or simply to be arbitrary, but because the children and the dependent spouses still have expenses. Still have expenses, which no one has yet figured
out how to address in this economy. What do we do when the primary breadwinner is no longer employed, has no reasonable prospect of regaining employment and has drastically diminished assets? Family Courts are Courts of equity, and it is incumbent upon all who are involved in this process to seek and do equity to all concerned. Family Court Judges, Family Court attorneys and will intended persons associated with our system must address this issue and address it sooner rather than later.
Extreme caution and good judgment must be exercised to do equity when required and, at the same time, prevent malingerers from avoiding justly due and payable obligations basis of contrived economic hardships. Delay will simply work hardships, which may not be able to be resolved after the fact.