COVID-19/Coronavirus Update – We are Prepared to Serve You

Thanks for printing!  Don't forget to come back to Meriwether & Tharp, LLC for fresh articles!

169 - Should I File a Child Support or Alimony Modification in the Wake of COVID19? Image

05/06/2020 12:00 pm

COVID19 has been devastating in so many ways. Many have lost their lives, their businesses and their jobs. If you have a child support and/or alimony obligation, it makes things even worse, not just for the person paying support, but also for the person receiving support. In this show, we discuss filing for Child Support and Alimony modifications if you have been impacted by COVID19. We discuss issues like, “How will the court’s handle my modification?”; “When should I file?;” “What should I do to mitigate my income loss?”; and “How should I defend against a modification if I think the person is just trying to take advantage of a bad situation?"

Transcript

Leh Meriwether: Divorce Team Radio, episode 169.

Leh Meriwether: Welcome everyone. I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. We are your cohosts for Divorce Team Radio, a show sponsored by the Divorce and Family Law Firm of Meriwether & Tharp. Here, you will learn about divorce, family law, and from time to time, even tips on how to save your marriage if it's in the middle of a crisis. You can read more about us online at atlantadivorceteam.com.

Leh Meriwether: Well, Todd, today's topic is becoming a hot topic in the middle of this COVID-19, crisis with the nationwide unemployment rate of around 20% at the time of recording this, there are a lot of people out there who cannot afford, don't have any money to pay their child support and/or alimony.

Todd Orston: It's becoming an incredibly hot topic, because people are in limbo. There are people who have lost their jobs. There are people who, basically there have been furloughs, there have been pay cuts, all these things, and then on top of that, throw on top of that, the unknown. The big unknown of is the furlough going to be something that is a forever kind of thing? Is the furlough something that will last another month? So by the time you even get a modification started, strategically speaking, does it even make sense to move forward with the modification, simply because we file on Monday and that Friday the furlough is lifted, you're back at work and you're earning again. So there are a lot of strategic decisions that have to go into this thought process of what kind of help do you need and what kind of help can you get from the court in terms of modification.

Leh Meriwether: And I'm hoping there's going to be a lot of grace here in the middle of all this from courts, because there were some people that lost their jobs by no choice, they didn't do anything wrong, but the government said, "Oh by the way, you're shut down. You can't work." Especially like in the restaurant industry, the cruise ship industry. I mean there's a lot of people that work on cruise ships. That whole industry shut down. I mean, nobody's doing that. The airline industry, shut down. Oh, the sport industry, the movie industry shut down, because they couldn't work by social distancing. So the government created a scenario and that's just, I'm not trying to say it was bad or good or anything, just the government said, "You can't work." So it's not a situation where the loss of income was voluntary. It was you had no choice.

Todd Orston: Well, I can tell you one area that needs to be reopened as quickly as possible. I need my haircut desperately. So I am starting to look like Crystal Gayle. I don't know if, once again, that's kicking it a little too old school, but my hair is almost to the heels of my feet. So alright, I'm exaggerating a little bit, but I desperately need a haircut.

Todd Orston: But no, you're right. One of the things that we always look at and the court looks at in terms of a modification of child support is, is your loss of income due to a voluntary act as opposed to an involuntary act? Something happened to you versus you have done something. The analogy is a doctor making half a million dollars a year is tired of paying child support and decides to become a tap dancer and goes to court and says, "I want to dance." And the court says, "That's great, but you better make $500,000 a year tap dancing, because I'm not going to reduce your obligation simply because you have voluntarily chosen to give up a career that pays you good money."

Todd Orston: Here, for the most part, I have to assume, we're not dealing with that. We're dealing with a bunch of people where this has happened to them, and as I was saying before, I think the bigger conversation is not going to be whether or not these things have happened to you. Meaning it was voluntary versus involuntary. I think it's going to be a consideration of, "Do I jump through all the hoops of trying to obtain a modification if 15 days, 20 days, 30 days from now I'm going to be back at work making the same money I was making before?" At which point there is no grounds for modification, arguably.

Leh Meriwether: So what's important here is that, so let's say you wait, and I'm not saying that's a bad decision, just we're just talking right now. So you suddenly lose your income for two months, and then you get your job back. You cannot go back unless the legislature comes and makes some change to the law. But as the law stands now, the only way that your obligation changes, is with a subsequent court order, and that's here in Georgia. So I'm going to be clear there. There may be other states that have already passed some law that addresses this, I don't think so, because most legislatures in the different states, my understanding, shutdown like Georgia did. I have not checked that. So that's just my understanding, which could very well be wrong, but you're still going to owe that money.

Leh Meriwether: So I would recommend, if you're one of those ones sitting there going, "You know what? I'm pretty sure my job's coming back here as soon as things open back up from the governor," and then you just reach out to the person you've been paying child support and say, "Hey, give me time to make this up, because I didn't have income for two months." And hopefully that person will give them grace. I mean this is hard on everybody, and I'm not saying someone shouldn't help support the care of their children, because let's flip this for just a moment.

Leh Meriwether: So let's say, and I'm just going to use a more traditional thing, just for my hypothetical example, you got mom, who's at home with the two kids and a shelter in place order goes in place, and school shut down. Well, schools may have been covering the lunches every day. Now, mom's expenses have gone up, because she's at home and she has to feed the children all three meals all day long. And she didn't have that expense before.

Todd Orston: With no additional help.

Leh Meriwether: With no additional help. And now, the father's child support has disappeared. So on both ends, there is a double whammy. And so my thing I would also say to that person that has lost their job for whatever reason, there's two things I would suggest just knowing that reality on the other end. Number one, if you have access to other resources, perhaps because, and I don't know your situation, but I do know that the CARES Act said that you could withdraw money from your 401k, now's a horrible time to do it, but it said you could do it without a penalty. So you could conceivably, if you thought you were coming back, withdraw some money to meet your child support obligation and help your kids out. That's number one.

Leh Meriwether: Number two, let's say you were a waiter in a restaurant. Well, you may have been forced out of your restaurant job, but Amazon in certain areas is hiring like crazy. Let me give you an example. A good friend of mine, he owned a travel business. His primary clients who are, what he sold were cruises. His business right now, is completely shut down. It will most likely be shut down, because people are going to be afraid to go on cruise ships for like six months. He has zero income coming in. He has no child support obligation, but he has other financial obligations. What did he do? He got to get job delivering for Amazon. Was it making what his business was? Nope, but he busted his butt. He got the job. Now he's making money and it's at least paying his minimum expenses.

Leh Meriwether: And he did apply for the, there's two types of loans you can get through the CARES Act for businesses. He's applied to them. One of them, who he really didn't qualify for, the other one is going to take a month or two to get the money. In the meantime, he has bills to pay, he has food to buy for his family. So he went out there and worked. I mean, so you've got to think along those lines too. You can't just say, "Well, I lost my job as a waiter. I guess I don't have to pay child support." The court's going to say, "Well look, I understand Amazon has 30,000 job openings in Atlanta, maybe should go to apply to them."

Todd Orston: Yeah, and that's not any different than the way things were handled before COVID-19, right. If somebody comes in and says, "I lost my job," I can tell you right now, one of the defenses that I would use quite often is I would look at the person's skill set. Let's say my role was to question that loss of income, and I would then go online and I would do some searches in terms of jobs that are available right now. And one of the ways to question it would be, "Well, okay, I understand you lost your job doing X. Here's an advertisement for Y, here's an advertisement for Z, here's an advertisement for this, and this, and this. Did you apply for any of these? No you didn't. Okay." And then the argument is there, "Well, are you really truly doing anything to replace the income that you have lost?" So that argument was present even before COVID-19, but now that argument doesn't disappear.

Todd Orston: I can definitely state, I mean if somebody was coming at one of my clients trying to get additional child support, or if somebody was trying to basically cut their child support, because they say they lost their job. I get it. I feel sympathy. Absolutely. But what are you doing to replace that income? That question is still present.

Todd Orston: The other thing that I will say, we're sitting here, we're talking about how you may not want to, or I've made a comment at least, how if you're going to replace your income very quickly, filing a modification may not make sense. But the one point that I definitely want to make is err on the side of filing sooner rather than later. I know that seems to contradict what I said before, but if you don't know what your future holds, and many of us don't, understand that if you don't move to modify your obligation, that obligation doesn't disappear, and if three months, four months, five months from now, you finally see that this is going to be a longer term or have a longer term impact on you than you thought. Well, let's say it's six months later, you still owe and the court cannot change the fact that you owe all of those months of child support that you didn't pay.

Todd Orston: So unless you file, then... because how about this? I'll put it this way, once you file, then from that point forward, the court does have the ability to, for lack of a better way of putting it, forgive some of those past amounts from the date of filing to whenever the court has a hearing and changes it formally. But anything that happened before that, and we've seen people, again, not COVID-19 time, but we have seen people get into a lot of trouble. We've had, Leh, I know you're the same way, we've had people who two years, three years, four years have gone by, and they're like, "Well, I lost my job and I jumped from this position to that position and oh, I'm pretty sure that my ex understood, and now all of a sudden I'm getting hit with a 40, 50, $60,000 child support arrearage. Can we go to court and get that erased, because of all these reasons?" And the answer is, no.

Todd Orston: So you have to, that's where the strategy comes in. You really have to think about your situation, what it's going to take to get back to the same financial position you were in, how quickly that will happen. And if it's not quick, then you do need to act sooner rather than later. So you can lock in that ability to have a judge, potentially, it's not a definite, potentially forgive some of the arrearage that maybe you weren't able to pay due to your loss of income.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah. So let's take that example of my friend again. So his business is, there's no doubt it's shut down, and it's a safe bet to say it's going to take a minimum of a year to get back to where he was, minimum, because there's going to be a lot of fear of getting on a ship. And if his whole, let's say in this hype that, what's a real example, but I'm going to add in that his whole career, his focus has been on the travel industry, which has been dramatically hammered, but he didn't sit and do nothing. He went out and got a job. Now, that job makes maybe a fifth of what he was making before. That would be an example of someone I would say needs to talk to a lawyer, depending on the state they live in, but here in Georgia, I would most likely recommend that they file for a modification of child support as soon as possible.

Leh Meriwether: Now you may not get a hearing date for a couple months, because the courts are still under a judicial emergency order. But when you finally, when it's lifted, like it's supposed to be lifted May 13th here in Georgia, when it is lifted, you'll get a court date. And when you explain to the court that you didn't do nothing, you still paid as much child support as you could by getting a second or third job. I mean, alternative jobs, but you're like, "I can't make what I was making before. It could be years before I get back to there." And you can't just pivot into a new industry, because you have no experience there.

Leh Meriwether: That's a good example of where a court can say, "You know what? This is a case where we need to have a modification of child support, and we're going to make it retroactive to the day that you filed." So and let's say where your new, I'm not saying he makes these amounts, but let's say he was making a hundred grand before a year, and now he's making 25,000 a year. The court might set it, "Well, I think he can make a little more than 25, so I'm going to set your child support $30,000 a year. You've been making payments based on making $30,000 a year. So from the date you filed it, you don't owe any back child support." And so that's an example where that's an easier decision.

Todd Orston: And just to clarify, what Leh is talking about is called imputation of income. That's an example of a court, to me, the way I define it, it's sort of a legal fiction. It's the court being allowed to make an assumption not about what your actual income is, but what you can earn. Going back to my silly example of the doctor who wants to tap dance, the court can impute income to that tap dancing doctor and say, "That's fine. If you don't want to practice, and you're going to be a dancer making you know, whatever, $10,000 a year in your routines, in your dancing, that's fine. I'm imputing a half a million dollars of income to you." And therefore support will be based on 500,000, even though that person's not actually earning $500,000 anymore. It's called imputing income. So the court can absolutely impute income.

Todd Orston: Now COVID-19 time, it's going to be more difficult, right? Because so much is going to get thrown at these judges, and the judges understand this is a worldwide pandemic that is affecting the economies of basically every country on the planet. And so here, in the United States, here in Georgia, the court's not going to ignore the fact that people are losing their jobs, but be prepared, if you just stop working making the a hundred thousand dollar job, like Leh you were talking about, and you take a job making minimum wage, be prepared that the other side could say that that's not reasonable. Meaning they could come into court, and as a defense to your claim and your request for a downward modification all the way to that low level, they could say, "Well, have you looked at this opportunity? How about this one? How about this one?" So instead of minimum wage, you could have been making 35, 40, 45, 50, and if the court believes that you didn't take the steps necessary to find a more lucrative position, the court could impute income to you likely [inaudible]

Leh Meriwether: And judges take different approaches to it. So it can be quite frustrating. So bottom line, you need to be prepared to make this claim. And, of course, one of the struggles is, "Well I really don't have much money right now, because I lost all my money. So how do I hire a lawyer?" You may need to pull some money out of, I don't know, you may need to borrow some money to at least get things started, consult with a lawyer, go ahead and file. And here's the things I would get together, you need to show the court how you were impacted by the COVID-19, what you did to compensate for it, and what you're doing on the go forward, but explain perhaps you're, like I said with that example, his whole life had been in the travel industry. He didn't have any skillset that translated to another hundred thousand dollar a year job. So his best option was that the Amazon driver. And I'm not saying they only make 25,000 or $30,000 that was just numbers I was using as an example. So that's what you need to be prepared for.

Leh Meriwether: You need to explain to the court, "I have sent out resumes to the following locations. When Amazon said, 'yeah, we'll hire you for a temporary position,' I jumped on it, because it was cashflow that I didn't have. I continued to look for job opportunities." And so you've got to show the court all those efforts. So even if you can't represent yourself, I mean you can't afford an attorney, go through these steps, gather this information, consult with a lawyer, make sure you're presenting it the right way.

Leh Meriwether: Because a lawyer is also going to look at, if you come to a lawyer and sit down with them and say, "I can't afford to hire you full time, can I do a consult with you?" They're going to sit down, and they're going to pick apart your case so you have more information for the judge. They're going to say, "What about this? Last time I was in front of this judge, I heard them ask the following questions of the person to make sure that they really couldn't pay the amount." And they're just doing their job.

Leh Meriwether: The judge is there to make sure that the child is supported, and that's their primary role. It's not to beat up on you if you're the obligor or the one who's paying child support. They're just there to protect the children, and they see payment of child support as helping protect children. Especially with the, there was discussions or some articles that have been published saying that a recession leads to an increased death in children due to starvation. So the judge sees these things, and the mom comes in, says, "I'm having trouble making, I may have not lost my job, but my expenses all went up, because the kids aren't in school now." The court's got to weigh all that.

Todd Orston: Yeah. Let me build on what you were saying earlier, just a little while ago, about the use of an attorney. Obviously, I'm going to sit here and I'm going to say it is a benefit to have someone on your side who understands the system, can help you, guide you, represent you, and make the right arguments at the right times. But we also recognize that that may not be possible. If you are out of work, having trouble paying rent, then you definitely may not have or, definitely may, you definitely don't have the ability to hire an attorney right now. And I get that.

Todd Orston: So I will say this, do it yourself. But there are other opportunities out there to get some help. So sort of like Leh, what you were saying, you can do, for instance with Meriwether & Tharp, we do consultations with an attorney where you can sit for an hour, hour and a half with an attorney and go over, let's say you're going to file everything yourself, you pull all the documents online, but you want to make sure you're doing it the right way. Make sure you're making the right arguments, make sure that you are preparing the way that you need to prepare. Fine.

Todd Orston: You can't retain an attorney, but you can sit with an attorney who will impart some of that knowledge, give you the benefit of that experience that they have dealing with these issues, so you're not walking into the system and walking into the process blind. Potentially making a fatal mistake, meaning you file it and don't get the help that you're looking for. So there are opportunities. For our consultations, for instance, it's a $300 flat fee. And I don't know about other attorneys, but I'm sure there are other opportunities with other attorneys where you can sit down and you can basically have time with an attorney.

Todd Orston: But the point that I'm making, and I want to make sure I'm crystal clear on is, if you cannot hire an attorney, especially when it comes to child support, do it yourself then. Because the longer you wait, the larger the arrearage you will have to deal with, and that arrearage you will have to pay back. And it'll be up to the judge whether the judge says $10 a month or $500 a month, depends on the size of the arrearage. We've seen situations where people are thrown in jail for having a large child support arrearage. So you can be sanctioned, and these are issues you don't want to have to deal with and it's a simple fix. Don't procrastinate. Act, be proactive, not reactive. Don't wait for them to file after there's a big arrearage, file a contempt and then all of a sudden that spurs you to action and you file your modification. But too late, you already have hundreds if not thousands and thousands of dollars of arrearage that has built up, and now you have to deal with the question of why didn't you pay?

Todd Orston: And in a contempt, the court will make sure that you have done everything, truly everything you could do to comply with its order. You have to beg, borrow, and do everything but steel in order to comply with a court support order. And so if you go in and you're like, "Sorry judge, I lost my job." It doesn't stop there. Then the court wants to know what have you done to find a new job? How about part-time work? How about full-time work? "Oh, I'm sorry, you were making this much money, but you were only applying to positions at that high level? Well, I'm sorry, maybe you needed to take a lower paying job so that you have a little bit more money and you can maintain these payments and fulfill your obligation." All right.

Todd Orston: The court will look in a contempt at, could you borrow, could you take money from a 401k or other retirement, could you use credit cards? You have to do everything in your power to comply. So if you have to do this on your own, then so be it. But definitely, please, please, please look for some level of assistance so that you do it the correct way. But under any circumstance, do it. Act, don't react. And hopefully that'll put you in a much better position, and keep you out of big trouble.

Leh Meriwether: So that could sound doom and gloomy and-

Todd Orston: I could say it in a happier voice.

Leh Meriwether: But people are like, "Wow, what are you saying? The courts aren't going to care that everybody's suffering right now." Yeah, everybody is suffering, but you have to come in there showing that you have made efforts to meet your obligation, even despite this crisis. I want to be clear on this, that doesn't mean you're not going to get relief. If you come in there prepared... Well, let me give you another example, another hypothetical. I have messed up my knee. I need surgery on my knee. I can't even get an MRI to find out if it's torn cartilage or a torn ACL, because the non-essential procedures have been stopped as a result of the shelter in place order.

Leh Meriwether: So if I had lost my job, I literally couldn't go work as an Amazon delivery driver, because they walk from delivering their packages between five and 10 miles a day, and I can't do that. So you'd have to come to the court, and you have to show like, "I have a report from a doctor saying I have injured my knee, severe swelling. They gave me a steroid shot." But you'd have to come in there with your medical records and say, "Judge, I couldn't find a replacement because of my medical condition. And there's a good chance, because the court is required in Georgia, is required to look at all the issues under the child support statute. They have to look at what the person's done, their financial situation, and that includes, do you have access to a 401k? Because the CARES Act said you can withdraw from the 401k without a penalty.

Leh Meriwether: So all those things are going to come into play. And I will sort of end on this, if you act now, and you come in there and you've got a reasonable basis for a child support modification, the court is supposed to only look at your income, in Georgia. And so the court could say, "You know what, your income has been dramatically impacted. Yeah, you've got a 401K, there's not much in it. It's been devastated by the market drop. And mom, she never lost her job. She's okay. It's unfortunate what's going on over there, so we're going to give you a modification." And then we'll make it retroactive to the date you filed.

Leh Meriwether: But if you do nothing and wait six months and come into court, say, "Judge, I need a modification." Then the court can say, let's say it's the same fact scenario, "Alright, I'm going to give you a modification, but you're going to do a qualified domestic relations order. And we're going to pull all your back-owed child support out of your 401k." So they're going to address the 401k to meet the past due child support obligation. And when you do that, you pay income taxes. So let's say you owed 30 grand and back owed child support, and they take it out, the child receives the entire 30,000 and you don't pay a penalty, because it was a QDRO, but you do pay income taxes on the entire $30,000. So those are two more things to consider-

Todd Orston: As a possibility. Yeah. I mean that's not a definitive, definite, that's the way the court will handle it kind of sanction.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: But neither is jail. I mentioned jail. I'm not telling you, doom and gloom, that the court will throw you in jail because of child support arrearage. Especially nowadays, COVID-19, people losing their jobs. Really, if I'm going to sum it up, it's going to be, just make sure you're doing everything you can, and that you are gathering the evidence necessary to support your efforts, to show your efforts, to comply with the court order. If you do that, hopefully the court will be understanding and that, at the appropriate time, you either won't be heavily sanctioned or if you're moving for a modification, you'll get the help that you need, but you have to cross every t, dot every i, and do things by the book.

Todd Orston: If you don't, that's where an attorney comes in, to help make sure you are. If you don't, then the consequences can be pretty significant. All right. So if you have questions, you pick up the phone, talk to an attorney. We do free telephone consultations on the phone, so we can identify what the issues are, but if you need to sit down and say, "Hey, I have to do this on my own, but I at least need some assistance." Attorneys, or at least I can speak for Meriwether & Tharp, you can have a consultation with an attorney, you can do a document review with an attorney, and we will help to make sure you're doing things the correct and appropriate way so that you get the help and the protection that you need.

Leh Meriwether: To wrap this up, I would say if you've lost your job or got furloughed, I think number one, reach out to the other parent. Let them know what's happened, and let them know that you're going to do everything you can to replace that income so you can continue making your child support obligation. Two, try to replace your job. Look at, do searches for all the temporary job opportunities that are out. Well, in Georgia, Publix, Kroger, their hiring, Amazon's hiring, DoorDash was hiring. So all these, they're temporary jobs, and hopefully you'll just do those temporary jobs and be able to jump back into the workforce. So that would be the second thing, try to find a means of replacing your income. If you are unable to replace your income, then I would reach out to a lawyer and talk to them about, "Hey, what are my chances of modifying my child support. Should I do it now?" And have that discussion.

Leh Meriwether: They're going to ask you the hard questions. Have you done this? Have you done that? What is this? What's the situation with this? What County is it in? Because every judge looks at these differently. So I would go through those steps, because who knows, maybe you, I don't know how much money you make, maybe you actually are able to replace it with two part-time, temporary positions until your full-time position comes back available, and you don't need to get into the court system, which you just never know what's going to happen when you get in front of a judge.

Todd Orston: Good advice, Leh.

Leh Meriwether: Well, thank you.

Todd Orston: Just get the help that you need. Sometimes, I'm trying to think of how to put this, logic in your mind might dictate that this is the way something should happen, right? "I lost my job. Well, of course I don't have to pay support, because I don't have the money." But it doesn't work that way. There are rules that apply to you and to anyone and everyone that has a support obligation. And if you don't play by the rules, there are sanctions, there are issues that will come up, and you could get yourself into a whole bunch of trouble. Hopefully you have the ability to get some help to make sure you do things appropriately and the proper way. But if that's not possible, like I said, then educate yourself, alright? Meriwether & Tharp, we have a website with literally thousands of pages of free information. Leh and I, we've done this podcast for years now, we have, Leh, what are we up to now in terms of episodes?

Leh Meriwether: This is going to be 169.

Todd Orston: 169. Okay. [crosstalk]

Leh Meriwether: We've gotten some of the stuff we haven't published yet because of the COVID-19, that's why it feels like more. And just so you know, I mean, to the audience here for a second, a lot of things have happened. We had recorded other shows, like tax shows and that sort of thing. But with all that was going on with COVID-19, we put those on hold. Why do a tax show if everything having to do with taxes is being [crosstalk 00:31:36].

Todd Orston: You're not paying taxes.

Leh Meriwether: There's no tax issue until July now. But everything's in flux. They're changing the rules, or lightening the, what is it? If you owed a past due tax obligation, they were relaxing, you could skip some payments. And so things are in flux right now, and we didn't want to release a show that sounded a little insensitive or that we were not paying attention to things. And part of it-

Todd Orston: Or where the quoted rules don't apply anymore. Right? Because the rules are being changed, as we're sitting here talking, there might be some changes that are being implemented or drawn up. And so look, the point, sorry to interrupt you Leh, the point is that there is information out there and it's good information. On our website, I can only speak for Meriwether & Tharp right now, but we have gone out of our way, and this is for years, this is not just because of COVID-19, we've gone out of our way to create a website that is an incredibly comprehensive look at all things family law related. Go there, read it, educate yourself, listen to podcasts. I'm sorry that you have to listen to Leh, but I mean, sometimes you got to do what you got to do. Just listen to podcasts, do whatever you have to do to educate yourself.

Todd Orston: If you go into it blind, then any mistakes you make, that's on you. And I know that sounds a little harsh, and I'm not trying to come across that way, but when there's information out there, if you don't avail yourself of that assistance, of that information, then if you make a mistake, you can really only look at yourself. There is information out there, and if reading that information, it's not clear still, then you can contact us. You can contact an attorney, and you can get the help that you need, whether that means you retain them or you just meet with them once to get questions answered.

Todd Orston: The answers are out there, the help is out there, and hopefully if you get that help, you'll avoid some of the pitfalls that we unfortunately see a lot of people fall into, alright. So, get yourself that help and hopefully we'll all get through COVID-19 healthfully, and that's financially healthy and also just healthy, healthy. But we'll get through this, and you'll get through this. But just understand there are rules to the game, and if you don't understand the rules, then you won't get the assistance that you probably desperately need.

Leh Meriwether: Call someone who does. All right, hey, real quick, I wanted to let you know that we're going to, as I indicated a few shows ago, we've changed the format. We are recording this both remotely and we're using some neat software to do it. We hope to one day get back into the studio, but we changed the format just a hair. We're going to have some shorter shows. We're going to have a show here coming up, the one question, so for those that may be struggling in the middle of this with their spouse and they don't want to divorce, but being in the same room too much is just creating all kinds of havoc. I have one question that you can ask your spouse to help make the situation a little bit better. We're going to talk about that on an upcoming episode.

Leh Meriwether: We're also going to talk about stimulus checks, like what is the impact of a past due child support arrearage on a stimulus check? And I know that they've come out for a lot of people, but for a lot they haven't. Several people we're expecting to get some child support through the stimulus, and it hasn't happened, we're going to address that. And if you were married to someone who had a past due child support obligation, you didn't get your stimulus check, and you want to know what to do, we're going to address that in an upcoming show as well.

Leh Meriwether: And before we go, I did want to give some thanks to all the listeners out there that have taken the time to go give us a five-star review. We're actually up to 49 reviews now. Did you know that Todd?

Todd Orston: I did. You've told me many, many times, now.

Leh Meriwether: I'm just amazed that they will say you did a good job. That's all.

Todd Orston: You know, the feeling is mutual.

Leh Meriwether: Go ahead.

Todd Orston: It really is. First of all, we love hearing from people. We try to keep things light but informational, and we know, please believe me, that we could be better at this. So when we hear from people that can tell us, "Hey, yeah, this was great, but this other part, yeah, that should be buried deeply, and no one should ever have to listen to that again." Maybe not that harsh, but that helps us. It helps us convey messages in hopefully, for lack of a better way of putting it, in an entertaining way that will resonate with you. All right.

Todd Orston: But at the end of the day, please understand, our whole purpose in doing this is absolutely not because we like to hear ourselves talk. I really don't like listening to me after we record. But the purpose is, we want to give this information out to people. All right? You have a right to it. You are entitled to understand the system within which we have to work, and things like this, like modification, how it applies to you, how you can get the assistance you need in this system. But if we're doing it in a way that it's just not resonating or you're not understanding, let us know, teach us, and that will give us an opportunity to get better, and give you hopefully more usable and entertaining information in the future.

Leh Meriwether: And email Todd with all your complaints, torston@mtlaw.com. Actually, if you go to the website, if you type in atlantadivorceteam.com, it'll route you to our primary website, and you can find our email addresses there. If you're driving in a car and can't write things down, atlantadivorceteam.com or divorceteamradio.com, that'll also get you there. And you can send Todd an angry email.

Leh Meriwether: But I want to talk about something positive, so. Going through it wrote on March 6th, 2020, "Informative. Great podcast. Always has something relevant." Well, thank you so much, going through it. We appreciate the five-star review, and please keep them coming. And if you're listening to this for the first time, please hit the subscribe button so you won't miss any future episodes. Thanks so much for listening.

Contact M&T Today

We can help with all your questions...