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Does Child Support Affect Workers Comp Claims?

One of the more difficult situations a Houston workers comp lawyer is faced with appears when their client also has to pay child support. They wonder if, since they are out of work while their workers comp claim is ongoing, they can stop paying the monthly contributions. The answer is no – because they are still technically earning an income in the form of the wage replacement.

Here is what you need to know if you are getting workers comp benefits and have to pay child support.

The IRS and Texas State Laws Treat Wage Replacements Differently

Some people do a little Google search and find out that workers comp wage replacements are not treated as income by the Internal Revenue Service. Thus, you do not have to report them as income and pay tax.

However, Texas Family Code 158.213 specifies that workers comp insurance adjusters are obliged to withhold child support payments out of benefits payable to an injured worker. Child support will be withheld irrespective of the arrangement you accepted for receiving workers comp benefits:

  • As a lump sum
  • As a structured settlement

Steps You Can Take to Minimize the Impact of Child Support during Workers Comp

Understandably, you are wondering if you can still cover your bills and everyday expenses if you have to pay the same amount in child support, although you are only receiving 2/3 of your regular wages.

In this situation, it is important to discuss with your Houston workers comp lawyer, but also with a child support attorney. You may resort to one of the following options:

Reach an Amiable Agreement with Your Former Spouse

If you had a no-fault divorce and are still on good terms with your ex-spouse, you may reach out to them and explain your current situation. As custodial parent, they have the right to petition the court to waive child support payments for a period of time or agree to a reduced amount of money.

do not ignore your child supporrt duties during workers comp

It is important to note that reaching a private agreement with your ex-spouse is not enough. Your mutual decision must be brought before a family law court and made official in a decree issued by the judge.

File a Motion for Reduced Child Support

While your attorney negotiates your workers comp claim, you should petition the family law court to reduce the amount of child support proportionally to the replacement wages. Your lawyer will support your motion with any documents and statements necessary to prove that you will be out on workers comp for a specific period of time.

Do Not Stop Paying Child Support during a Workers Comp Claim

In order to succeed in getting child support legally reduced or suspended while you recover from your workplace injuries, you must strive to fulfill your legal obligations. Do not stop paying child support. Also, do not suddenly petition the court for child custody in order to avoid child support altogether.

Family law courts do not look kindly upon such actions. And once they issue an order to garnish your wage replacements, there is nothing a workers comp lawyer or a child support attorney can do to help you.

Tell Your Houston Workers Comp Lawyer about Child Support Payments!

When discussing with a legal counsel, be 100% honest and upfront. The attorney-lawyer relationship is protected by confidentiality. Inform your Houston workers comp lawyer that you are paying child support.

The attorney will take this factor into consideration and may refer you to other legal professionals, who practice family law, and who can offer you further assistance.

Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation: 346-220-1821!

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