Laws to Ensure Children Receive Financial Support
Every state in the U.S. has laws to ensure children receive financial support from both parents. If you were in an accident and have child support arrears, your state may receive a part or all of a personal injury settlement to satisfy your child support obligations.
If you were injured in the accident, the at-fault party can be legally obligated to compensate you for your losses. They may have to cover the costs of your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage or loss. You can also request damages for your physical and emotional pain and suffering. However, depending on your child support status, not all your compensation will necessarily end up with you.
How Your Personal Injury Settlement Impacts Your Child Support Obligation
When parents do not live together, one parent might be ordered to pay for the child’s needs and care to the other. Divorced parents and parents who were never married often settle child support matters in court. This agreement provides an objective point of view and cements the non-custodial parent’s obligation.
Non-custodial parents might fall behind on their child support payments for various reasons. If the amount of child support you were ordered to pay creates a financial hardship for you, you may be able to request a modification of your current support order.
Parent with Primary Custody
For the parent with primary custody who is owed child support, a monetary award you receive after an accident can be considered income. The good news is that by inadvertently relinquishing your personal injury compensation, you satisfy your outstanding support obligation, depending on the amount you owed and your total award. As a result, your settlement amount might help you erase an outstanding lien or arrears.
The Difference Between a Child Support Lien and Arrears
Your personal injury settlement is subject to garnishment, just as your wages would be if you fall behind on your payments. To get a full understanding of how and why your personal injury compensation might be used to satisfy your child support obligations, you must know how missed or overdue payments are collected.
- Having child support arrears means you have an overdue child support debt that has not been paid. This typically means a child support order is in place and that the parent missed at least one payment.
- Similarly, having a child support lien means you have an outstanding child support obligation. In that case, the child’s custodial parent can take possession of the certain property if your obligation is not met.
For clarity, if you have unsatisfied arrears, your state may put a lien on your personal injury settlements or real property. This happens because paying child support is considered a legal obligation, and your financial award might be seen as regular income.
What You Need to Know About a Child Support Lien
If you are injured in an accident and receive a monetary settlement, the at-fault party’s insurance company will make a payment to your attorney’s office. Your attorney, in turn, will make a payment to you after subtracting his agreed-upon contingency fee.
If you owe child support, the court may claim your portion or garnish your tax refund or bank accounts. Your state laws will determine how much, if any, of your financial award you can retain. They will also determine whether or not you can keep the portion of your settlement intended for the medical bills and pain and suffering portions of your case.
After an accident, compensation for your medical expenses may be included when you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. car accident attorney Fort Lauderdale can explain how your settlement will be affected and how your medical expenses and other damages will be covered.
If You Were Involved in a Car Accident
If you were involved in a car accident, truck accident, slip, and fall, or other negligence-based accident, a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer at our firm can manage your case while you recover from your injuries. Some of their services include helping you seek fair compensation and determining whether child support can be taken from your personal injury settlement.
Contact the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato
You can learn more about your financial recovery rights and responsibilities from one of our team members. Get in touch with the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato at (954) 633-8270 today for a free, no-obligation case review. Our personal injury attorneys will take your case on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning we only take a payment if we settle or win your case.