Will My Personal Injury Settlement Affect My Child Support Payments?

After the resolution of your personal injury case, you will need to update the court that handled your child support case. As a result, the money you were awarded in your injury settlement may affect your child support payments. There are many possible complicating factors, however, so it is best to consult a family law attorney. Your attorney can advise you on your rights and responsibilities. What follows is some general information that may be helpful to you in this area.


A Settlement Award as Personal Income


Most states treat the proceeds of the personal injury case as a personal income that can be used at least in part to pay for child support. In 1998, the state of Alabama determined that any settlement exceeding $1,000 that is paid to a person is considered personal income. New York and Pennsylvania have ruled similarly.


Overdue Payments


After experiencing the pain of a serious injury, overdue child support payments may add to one’s stress level. However, you are legally bound to fulfill your financial obligation to your children. When you receive your personal injury settlement award, you may be forced to use some or all of it for child support payments.


Your Personal Injury Award and Child Support


If your injury leaves you unable to work and the personal injury award includes recovery of your lost wages, that portion you recover for income will likely be considered the same as regular income.

  • The percentage of your settlement award that must go toward paying child support will probably be the same as your normal income percentage.
  • A family law attorney can confirm how much of your personal injury award can go toward your medical bills and other costs and how much needs to be paid out for child support.


Future Child Support Payments


Compensation received as a result of a jury verdict or an out-of-court settlement is usually considered as income, at least in part.

  • If the award is substantial, it may affect the amount of money you are obligated to pay for child support into the future.
  • This may especially be true if the amount includes compensation above and beyond medical bills.
  • After reviewing your case, an attorney you hire can provide legal guidance and outline exactly what you will be obligated to pay in the way of child support.


Laws vary by jurisdiction and circumstances. Talk to a child custody lawyer Peoria IL trusts or personal injury lawyer about how your particular situation may be affected by child support payments and a personal injury award.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Smith & Weer, P.C. for their insight into family law practice.


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