Will My Personal Injury Settlement Influence My Child Support Payments?

Personal Injury Lawyer

If you received a personal injury settlement recently, you may find yourself wondering how it will affect any child support payments that you need to pay.

Courts tend to base child support amounts on the needs of the child and resources of their parents. However, when either parent comes into new money or resources, the court will adjust payments so that they reflect the parent’s new source of  income. This decision is a case by case basis, so it depends on what your settlement is for and what you are already paying in child support. 

The Reason for the Settlement Matters

As a personal injury lawyer from a firm like Hall Justice Law Firm can explain, in many personal injury settlements, only the medical expenses are compensated.  A court will not require you to pay a higher amount of child support if your settlement only covered your medical bills. But, if you are permanently or severely injured, settlement payment will probably cover lost wages and pain and suffering costs. Lost wages are defined as money given in a settlement that you would have been able to obtain by working if you had not been injured. 

If this is the case, your settlement will be taken into account by a court and your child support payment will be reevaluated. The court will take a look at your current income compared to the amount of your settlement, and decide if long term it is necessary for you to pay more child support. The court will explain that you have more resources now and that you can use them to support your child. It is advised that you consult with a family law attorney. 

One Time vs. Regular Payments

Whether or not the settlement comes in low monthly payments or a one time (lump sum) payment is very important. If monthly payments are part of the settlement, the court will most likely rule that you should pay more child support. However, settlements are usually lump sum payments and courts usually do not factor one time lump sums into child support calculations.

One time lump sums do not always equate to a settlement. These can also include gambling money won or a money given to you as a gift. Courts consider that if a parent is not reasonably expected to gain or win the predicted amount of money each week, they cannot predict a set amount of income each month.

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