The Judicial Council of California recently announced its new emergency rule 13, which could makes it possible for people to pursue backdated support orders. Typically, when a court grants an order modifying a support order – including both child support and spousal support orders – the court only has jurisdiction to retroactively order the payment of support back to when the request was first filed with that court. Emergency rule 13 now allows courts to order retroactive payments to the day the modification request was first served or mailed by the party requesting the support modification.
According to the Judicial Council, the coronavirus has complicated their court systems and slowed the handling of practically all processes. Restrictions put in place to preserve public health, such as limiting how many people can gather in one place, inherently delays receiving, reviewing, and closing cases and requests. The pandemic has also caused countless people to lose their jobs, making support order payments more difficult than ever. The combination of increased unemployment and increased court system delays has created an unprecedented problem. Emergency rule 13 was approved to try to overcome those issues by putting more power in the hands of the parties.
What to Do If You Need a Support Modification
If you believe you need, or are entitled to an increased or decreased amount of spousal or child support, then you should speak with a family law attorney as soon as you can to get your case moving. The same is true if you do not have any support order currently but would like one to be created and approved. The sooner your attorney can draft up the request, the sooner it can be mailed or served to the other party. Emergency rule 13 could set the payment commencement back to that date, not when the request is filed with the court, which could be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your family lawyer can help you decide how to get your modification request served and preserve the retroactivity date for when you go to court.
Depending on where your case is at in the legal process, your request may have to be personally served. When a third party like a service company or sheriff gets involved, it adds another way to clearly establish when the request first reached the payer.
To learn more about emergency rule 13, you can click here to view an official press release from the Judicial Council of California. If you need legal assistance with creating and requesting a support modification, Chung & Ignacio, LLP may be able to help. We work with clients throughout Rancho Cucamonga and the surrounding area. Call (909) 726-7112 to learn more.