Can child support take my personal injury settlement? If you have been injured in a personal injury accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injury-related losses. But what happens to this settlement if you owe money in child support? Can the owed amount be deducted from your personal injury award?
If you have been injured and have questions about the relationship between your settlement and child support obligations, talk to one of our Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys with El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers.
Child Support Arrears and Lien
A child support arrear is money that you owe in child support obligations that you should have paid earlier. You will usually hear this term, otherwise referred to as outstanding child support arrears, when a parent has missed one or several child support payments.
A lien, on the other hand, refers to a claim asserted on another person’s money or property until they can repay their debt. For example, if a doctor treats you for a personal injury, but you are unable to pay at the moment, they may place a lien on your personal injury settlement.
Similarly, the state may place a child support lien on your personal injury claim if you have missed two or more payments on your obligation.
How Does Child Support Lien Work?
As mentioned above, the state has the power to place a lien on your personal injury settlement for child support arrears. Simply put, a court can force you to meet your child support obligations if you miss some payments. The lien will often be placed after the other parent, usually the custodial parent, requests legal help from the state with child support enforcement.
Once the state places a lien on your settlement, both you and the insurance company handling your claim will be notified. The insurer may then work out the payment with your attorney, who is ultimately in charge of settling all liens before handing you your check.
Remember, most states take child support very seriously and will likely not relent on the lien. Your attorney, nonetheless, may be able to get some other liens reduced or dropped from your claim.
Do You Have to Pay the Child Support You Owe?
There are basically two ways child support could affect your personal insurance settlement. Depending on the state in which you reside, the court may:
- Forward a specified minimum amount to you, pay your doctors and attorney, then use the rest of your settlement to pay child support.
- Take out an amount from your settlement to pay child support, then release the rest to you.
In both cases, your medical expenses and attorney fees will always get paid out of your settlement.
Get Help from a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney
Can child support take my personal injury settlement? Yes, and it is legal for the state to place a lien for child support on your personal injury settlement. However, the amount taken out of your award amount will vary depending on your state of residence and your attorney’s experience.
El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers is a leading personal injury law firm. Our Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys are dedicated to helping you get the best outcome from your case. If you have been injured in an accident, contact us today online or at 888-542-6021 to schedule a consultation.