When you are injured in an accident, you could receive a compensation settlement through a personal injury claim. This money is meant to cover your expenses related to your injury, such as your medical bills, lost wages, and disability aids. When a married individual receives a settlement for a personal injury claim, the money from that settlement is considered to be marital property. Like other forms of income and shared assets, the money that comes into a household through a personal injury settlement may be subject to division between the spouses during their divorce.
But what about a personal injury award you receive after your divorce is finalized? Can this affect your alimony or child support obligation? The answer is yes.
You may petition to the court to change the amount of alimony or child support that you are required to pay on the grounds of “changed circumstances.” If your injury forced you to stop working and you can not afford your required payments, you may take this route to have your payment amounts lowered. Keep in mind how your personal injury settlement can affect this, though. If the court determines that the award significantly impacts your spending power in a positive way, this can prevent your payments from being reduced.
If your spouse seeks to alter his or her alimony or child support award, he or she may cite your settlement as a changed circumstance as well. Talk to your attorney about ways you can protect your settlement amount from your former spouse.
To learn more about personal injury awards, child support, alimony, and other places where personal injury and family law intersect, contact The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. at (732) 365-3299 to schedule your free legal consultation with a member of our firm. When you come in to meet with us, we will work with you to determine a legal strategy that fits your needs.