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How Will My Personal Injury Settlement Impact My Child Support Payments?

If you have recently been awarded money in a personal injury claim, you are most likely  wondering how it will affect your future payments for child support. As a child support lawyer from a firm like the Law Office of Daniel E. Stuart, P.A. can explain, since most courts base the amount of child support paid on a parents’ resources, your child support will most likely be reassessed and recalculated when you suddenly receive new resources.

If your settlement is a lump sum or single payment, states will oftentimes not include it as part of your child support. Other examples of lump sum payments can include money obtained through gambling or a gift. The reasoning behind this is policy is that if you are not expected to gain the amount of money received at foreseeable intervals in the future, you should not be expected to pay an additional amount at said predictable intervals.

Fortunately, in the event that your personal injury settlement only covers your documented medical expenses and not lost wages or emotional damage, your child support will not be affected. The reason behind your personal injury settlement also matters to the court. However, if your settlement only covers lost wages that you would have otherwise made if you were working, your child support payments may change.

The Needs of the Child

Specific laws apply to each state, so each state’s court operates on different terms. Every family law court’s ultimate priority is to give a child the resources that they would have had if their parents had been married. In the event that you have to pay extra child support because of a personal injury settlement, the percentage of your settlement that must go toward your child support payments will most likely be the same as your normal income percentage.

Many states do treat the money earned from a personal injury settlement as personal income that can be used to partially pay for child support. If the court deems it necessary to readjust your child support payments, they will look at your income compared to your settlement and consider if in the long term it is fair or necessary for you to pay an increased amount of child support.

Contact an Attorney

If you have received a personal injury settlement and you currently receive or pay child support, it is crucial that you talk to a child custody lawyer. A lawyer can help assess your situation and bring your concerns to the judge in a way that is favorable for you.