Supporting a family on a limited income can be difficult if you are a single parent living from one pay period to another. The financial pressure of paying child support may interfere with your workers’ compensation payments if you suffer a workplace injury. Many individuals want to know how child support payments may affect their workers’ compensation claims.
Many individuals seek out legal representation when they face problems associated with their workers’ compensation benefits and their child support obligations. It can be intimidating to review all the documents, records, and policies that may be applicable to your legal problem. However, learning more about workers’ compensation benefits and how they interact with child support payments can help you focus on finding solutions to the legal issues in your life.
Financial Demands for Satisfying Child Support Payments
Worker’s compensation benefits are provided to injured employees to assist them with paying for medical treatment, but workers’ compensation payments can be applied to child support payments. Adults need to provide child support payments even though they receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Typically, child support payments apply until children graduate from high school or reach eighteen years of age. However, some unique circumstances may cause an end to child support payments. When children join a branch of the military, become legally emancipated, or get married, the parent will usually not be responsible for paying child support payments any longer.
But if these unique circumstances do not apply, and the child is still eligible for child support payments, the responsible parent must continue making child support payments. In some cases, the total workers’ compensation payment is applied to child support payments.
Child Support Payments and Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you receive child support payments then you will not have to worry about your workers’ compensation benefits. Only if you are responsible for making child support payments will you have to worry about your workers’ compensation benefits. Essentially, workers’ compensation benefits are classified as income.
If you receive child support payments, the parent responsible for making the payments may be required to pay a higher amount of child support depending on the amount of their workers’ compensation benefits.
The total amount a parent pays for child support can influence the benefits they get from workers’ compensation. If you are paying a high amount of child support, you may receive lower workers’ compensation benefits. Whatever you are paid through workers’ compensation is based on your income. The child support payments may lower your annual income and thus will lower the total you can obtain from workers’ compensation benefits.
It is possible that you have a family member who receives child support while you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. This can affect your workers’ compensation benefits.
Can My Workers’ Compensation Benefits Be Used to Pay Child Support?
If you have a workers’ compensation settlement it is possible that a portion of the settlement can be used to pay child support. However, workers’ compensation settlements are generally exempt from claims asserted by creditors. Child support debt is not categorized in the same manner as other types of debt such as credit card debt. The state also has broad authority to collect child support payments from those who owe child support.
Approximately one-half of your workers’ compensation settlement can be paid toward child support payments. The only way to challenge this is by confronting the state agency in charge of child support payments. The procedural requirements for communicating with the state agency can be overwhelming if you are unfamiliar with dealing with the bureaucracy of state government. A family law attorney and a workers’ compensation attorney can help you with the problems that can arise when you contact state agencies in South Carolina.
Parents are obligated to support their children financially regardless of their marital status. Although a parent may not be able to work due to a workplace injury, the parent must continue making child support payments.
Being Unable to Make Child Support Payments
If a parent cannot make child support payments due to your workers’ compensation settlement being less than your wages, then you may need to go to court and request a downward modification, which is a reduction of child support payments. This is the only mechanism available to parties for reducing the amount of their child support payments. It is important to consult an experienced lawyer to determine the best time for you to submit a petition for a downward modification.
Petitioning the court for a downward modification can take time. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you determine how best to protect your interests. You also may need to speak to a workers’ compensation attorney as this area of law is extremely technical.
It is possible that workers’ compensation benefits will be garnished if child support payments are not made. The parent entitled to child support payments can request that the state agency paying the workers’ compensation benefits garnish a specific amount for child support payments. This amount is then sent directly to the parent that is entitled to child support payments.
The parent who is making child support payments can speak with an experienced attorney about reducing the child support obligation amount while the parent is receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
Dealing with these problems related to child support and workers’ compensation benefits can make individuals feel angry, frustrated, and resentful. Being emotional and confused while attempting to solve these problems can lead to further conflict between parties. Consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney and a family law attorney can help individuals learn more about the legal options available to them.
Contact the Shelly Leeke Law Firm, LLC Today
The Shelly Leeke Law Firm, LLC has more than a decade of experience representing clients in cases involving child support disputes. We also have years of experience helping clients with their workers’ compensation claims. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you determine the best course of action to take regarding child support payments and workers’ compensation benefits.
Reach out to the Shelly Leeke Law Firm, LLC today to learn more about the actions you can take to seek a reduction of your child support payments.