Government Shutdowns Have Limited Effects on Divorces

 Posted on January 25, 2019 in Divorce

Government Shutdowns Have Limited Effects on DivorcesAfter more than a month, the federal government shutdown has ended with a deal to reopen the government for three weeks. However, President Donald Trump mentioned the possibility of another shutdown if he could not reach an agreement with Democratic leaders. You may wonder whether a shutdown has any effect on divorces. In most situations, the answer is “no.” A shutdown impacts the funding for federal courts, but state courts handle divorce and family law cases. A shutdown would likely affect a divorce only when one of the spouses is a federal employee.

Immediate Consequences

Federal employees do not receive pay during a government shutdown. This should not create any uncertainty about a spouse’s income during divorce negotiations because most employees receive back pay after the shutdown has ended. The government may not repay federal contractors, but those losses should not change the spouse’s future income once the government is running again. The missed pay could immediately affect people who:

  • Are trying to obtain a loan to purchase their own home following a divorce;
  • Are required to make monthly child support or spousal maintenance payments as part of a completed divorce agreement; or
  • Do not have enough money to pay for their own child or personal expenses.

It is important to talk to your family law attorney and former spouse about your financial concerns during a government shutdown. Your former spouse may be understanding about a missed or reduced support payment when you are not receiving your income. If a shutdown persists, you can also file a motion to modify your support payments because of a change in income. However, you could be held in contempt of your divorce agreement if you fail to make support payments without explaining the reason to your former spouse or the court.

IRS Documents

A government shutdown could indirectly delay your divorce negotiations if you need official documents from a federal agency. For instance, you may request tax records from the IRS while researching your marital finances. Government agencies such as the IRS still operate during a government shutdown but are understaffed because of furloughed employees. Thus, it may take them longer than normal to fulfill your request.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

You do not need to postpone getting a divorce if you are a federal employee affected by a government shutdown. If you are worried about making support payments, there are solutions available to you. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can handle any complications that arise during your case. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.



Share this post:
Back to Top