Can I Get Child Support From Workers’ Comp Payments?
When you have primary custody of your child, you have the right to seek child support from the noncustodial parent. If your ex is one of the 3 million Americans who are injured on the job each year, you might hope that workers’ compensation is a way to get extra child support. Keep reading to find out if workers’ compensation can be taken away to pay for child support.
Is Workers’ Comp Used As Child Support?
When it comes to child support, the legal system is set up to make sure that children get their basic needs taken care of. Any sort of personal income, including wages, investment dividends, pensions, disability benefits or social security benefits, can be a type of child support.
Therefore, if you have custody and need child support, the noncustodial parent’s workers’ compensation payout should be used to calculate the obligation amount. Workers’ compensation is usually meant to make up for the lost wages that a person could not earn due to injury. So, essentially, it becomes a form of wages that should be used to support your child.
A child support agreement can be made any time one of the parents of a child does not have full custody, so there are a few different circumstances where workers’ comp payout may be used for child support. If you get divorced and are awarded custody of your child, you may be able to start getting workers’ comp as part of your child support. You may also start receiving workers’ compensation payments as part of your child support if you establish that the person receiving the benefits is the father of a child.
Will a Workers’ Comp Award Change Your Child Support Payments?
Any workers’ compensation benefits a person receives will be used to calculate child support if you are still working out custody arrangements. But what can you expect if you already get child support, and then the other parent suddenly wins a workers’ compensation lawsuit?
It turns out that any change in income can result in a change to child support payments, but it doesn’t happen automatically. Either you or the other parent or guardian of the child will have to petition the court to change the previous child support agreement.
If your ex is not making as much money since getting injured, he or she can explain the situation to the court and ask that they lower the payment requirements to reflect his or her reduced income. However, if the workers’ comp award means that the other parent is now making more than you used to, you can get your child custody lawyer to ask the court to raise the amount of child support.
Can Workers’ Comp Be Garnished?
What happens if the other parent is required to pay part of their workers’ compensation award as child support but does not want to? Once you have custody, you can initiate a court case to get the support you are owed.
In this situation, a child custody lawyer can explain to the judge that your partner was capable of paying support but refused to. If the judgment is in your favor, the court can order garnishment of the workers’ compensation. This would mean the money is automatically taken out of a compensation benefit check or lump sum payment and given directly to you as the custodial parent. You might find that the workers’ comp garnishment includes taking money for past owed child support and current child support payments.
If you have any other questions about how child support and custody rulings affect workers’ comp payments, the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner can provide assistance. We are happy to help residents of Montgomery, Bucks and Philadelphia counties navigate the challenges of paying child support. Call our office in Jenkintown, PA, at (908) 200-2297 or fill out our online email form to set up a consultation now.