The workplace can be dangerous, especially if you work in construction, manufacturing, or law enforcement. But even the seemingly “safe” occupations can be dangerous. Every day, nurses sustain back injuries after lifting patients and data entry personnel suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Even office workers can be injured in car accidents that occur “on the clock,” and slip and fall accidents.
No matter your occupation, you run the risk of suffering from a workplace injury and if you’re contemplating divorce or are in the divorce process, there’s something you should know: If you end up paying child support and you later receive workers’ compensation, your workers’ compensation benefits are at risk.
How Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Affected
If you are ever to go on workers’ compensation and you’re paying child support, your workers’ compensation benefits can be taken to pay child support. Since workers’ compensation benefits are less than an employee’s regular pay, this can cause a problem, leaving less money for the non-custodial parent to live on.
If you are the non-custodial parent and you pay child support, please realize that if you collect workers’ compensation benefits, they are subject to garnishment for child support. But since you’ll be earning less than you did before the disability, it may be wise for you to ask the family court for a downward modification.
Whenever a non-custodial parent has a significant change in circumstances; for example, they lose their job or they go on workers’ compensation or Social Security Disability (SSD), they should petition the court to decrease their child support payments through a “downward modification.”
Note: Child support is not retroactive and you don’t stop owing it if you lose your job. So, as soon as you experience a major change in your financial situation, go to court immediately to petition for a downward modification.