Divorces are not easy. They are usually a long, complicated, and expensive processes. However, many times the final judgment of a divorce case will not be the end. If the court finds it appropriate to grant child support to a party, the other party will be legally bound to pay a fixed amount to them until the child reaches 18 years old or graduates from high school.
The calculations that determine child support are somewhat complicated, but they are mostly based on the incomes of the spouses and the average monthly expenses of their household. The courts will enforce the child support obligation, and failure to pay can result in serious legal actions such as loss of driver’s license and even jail. A child support obligation is not necessarily static though, and modifications can be filed and granted if something has changed in terms of income or expenses among the parties.
If you have been granted a settlement in a personal injury case, it is reasonable to be concerned that the money could be targeted for a child support modification. After all, you need that money to recover from the incident and have earned it through litigation.
Unfortunately, the specifics of how a personal injury settlement is viewed in this situation vary from state to state. Some states will view a personal injury settlement as reimbursement for damages sustained or lost wages. Other states will take a different perspective and look at the settlement as additional income. This distinction can also depend on whether the award is granted as a one-time payment or on a regular schedule of smaller sums. In the case of a payment schedule, the courts may view this as a replacement for regular income and these funds would be factored into any income calculations for child support.
In order to fully understand the laws of your state in regards to personal injury settlements and child support, speak to your skilled personal injury or family law attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Atlanta GA trusts. Your attorneys will know the specifics of how these areas of the law intersect, and be able to properly guide you through any legal proceedings to make sure that your child support is a fair amount that you can afford. Any legal issue can quickly grow confusing and even dangerous without a skilled and experienced attorney by your side. Make sure you have the representation you need to get the outcome that you deserve.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into personal injury practice.