How Does a Personal Injury Settlement Affect Child Support Payments?

If you were recently injured through someone else’s negligence and received a personal injury settlement, one of the first things you may wonder is how this affects your child support payments. When it comes to determining child support, a court will base the numbers off of what the children need (tuition, food, shelter, clothes, etc.) and what kinds of resources the parents have. So, if you have newer resources because you received a personal injury settlement, it is possible that a court may look at this and adjust the amount of child support based off of this “new income.” If you are paying child support and also received a personal injury settlement, it is best to speak with a family law attorney as soon as possible to determine what steps you should take after receiving this settlement so you can begin making any necessary monthly adjustments.

Does it matter what the settlement is for?

It is actually very important to determine what the settlement in your personal injury case was for. For example, many settlements are awarded to help pay for the costs of very high medical bills. When this is the case and the money is going directly to medical bills, a court may not see this as additional income and thus would not necessarily enforce a higher amount of child support for the injured parent. It is important to talk with your attorney and ensure you have documentation of any settlement money you get and where that is going to pay for your medical bills.

If the settlement payment covers any lost wages you incurred while you were injured, a court could certainly see this as your personal resources used to take care of your financial needs, and thus they would be resources to help your child financially as well.

How does a court evaluate the needs of the child?

This can vary based on your state, but a court will always take into consideration what the needs of the child are when looking at a parent’s personal injury settlement. Certain states have specific formulas that they use when a court is supposed to decide on child support based on high incomes, and this type of formula could potentially be applied for a one-time personal injury settlement award.

What else would affect child support?

In addition to a settlement award, a court will likely consider the amount of time that the child spends with each parent and how many overnight stays that the child has with each parent. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to changing how much you pay or receive in child support after a personal injury settlement, but speaking with a family law attorney about the different options and about your specific situation can give you the best information possible. It is best to be open and honest about your personal household income, exactly how much you were awarded after the settlement, and what the award was for.

For more information on personal injury settlements affecting child supporting payments, call  a law firm now.