Child Support Payments and Your Personal Injury Settlement
Your personal injury settlement will likely affect your child support payments, especially if you have avoided making payments. There are many examples of potential changes you may experience after gaining a personal injury award.
- Is it taxable or nontaxable income?
Personal injury settlements are viewed by many states as a form of personal income. Therefore, they are taxable, and courts may use them if you are behind on child support payments. Some states have set limits about how high an award must be in order for it to count as personal income. The court can consider an award over $1000 as personal income. However, an amount under $1000 will not be fodder for consideration.
- Have you missed making payments?
There is probably a chance you missed out on going to work if you are a victim of personal injury and you probably fell behind on payments. While this is understandable and may buy you time, you still have to make up those payments. You are not allowed to opt-out of them for any reason. You may have to use part or all of your settlement money to pay for your past due payments.
- How much is the settlement worth?
If the award you received is relatively large, then you may see a more costly adjustment to your child support payment schedule. If the settlement is enough to cover living expenses and medical bills but not much else, the money may be safe from allocation. However, you should still consult a family law child support lawyer because this is not always the case.
- Does the settlement compensate you for lost wages?
If you have an injury so severe that you cannot make it into work and therefore lose wages, your settlement will likely be garnished for child support payments. Personal injury payments are meant to cover lost wages and since that is considered personal income, you will most likely have a portion taken to pay off your debt. If you are not behind in payments, then you shouldn’t have to worry at all, and you may keep your award.
It is especially important to note that you have nothing to fear if you are up to date on your support payments. The court cannot take your money away from you if you do not owe anything. Remember, you must pay child support each month. If you have paid for that month or the due date for the next month hasn’t arrived, there’s no need for the court to look else garnishment. Furthermore, you must be delinquent for some time before a court decides to garnish your wages and personal injury awards.
If you are worried about garnishment of your personal injury award, be sure to contact a credible family law lawyer, such as The Law Office of Daniel J. Wright, to determine how you may be affected. It can be difficult to part with an award, especially if you have been out of work, but having a legal expert by your side can help ease the process.