Many people have a legal obligation to make child support payments. Sometimes, these payments are automatically deducted out of a person’s paycheck.
Failure to meet these legal obligations can lead to serious consequences. In Georgia, the failure to pay child support could subject you to civil or even criminal liability in some instances.
So, what happens when you are injured at work and are unable to do as a result of your injury? How does this affect your obligation to pay child support?
Can child support be deducted from my workers compensation check?
Yes. You still have to pay your child support obligation even if you suffer an injury at work. Money can be held out of your weekly workers compensation benefits for payment of that obligation.
If you are behind on your child support payments, then money to pay the back due amounts can be held out as well. There are some limits that govern how much child support can be held out per week.
Do I have to pay less child support since workers’ compensation pays me less per week than what I was earning at work?
In Georgia, workers compensation does not pay your full lost wages. At most, you will receive two-thirds of what you made before your injury. If your earnings were high enough, you may receive even less since Georgia has a maximum temporary total disability rate.
Since your amount of child support was likely based on your income before you got hurt at work injury, it may be difficult for you to meet that support obligation when you are out of work and receiving workers compensation benefits. Despite the fact that you are receiving less money on workers compensation, your child support obligation will stay the same unless there is some additional agreement or order made in your child support case.
This can make it very difficult to get by while you are on workers compensation and paying child support. This difficulty can be enhanced when inflation hits and prices go up.
If your circumstances have changed and you think your child support payment should be less, you will have to take legal action to get that modified. If you think your obligation should be changed, you should probably discuss this with an attorney that specializes in child support cases.
If I settle my workers compensation case, will child support be held out of my settlement?
Whether child support is held out of a workers compensation settlement usually depends on whether you are current on your payments. If you are current on your payments, then money will generally not be held out of your workers compensation settlement for child support. But, that does not mean you do not have to make your child support payments going forward.
If you are behind in your child support obligations, then money will generally have to be held out of settlement to pay the back due amount. Often, a lien has been filed for the back due child support amount.
State Board Rule 15 covers the requirements for all workers compensation settlements. Subsection (l) of that rule requires an injured worker to stipulate that there are no outstanding child support liens.
This means that you will have to sign paperwork as part of a settlement indicating that you do not have back due child support obligations. If you do have back due child support obligations, those obligations will have to be addressed in the workers compensation settlement paperwork.