As a rule, both parents in Texas are expected to financially support their children, even after a divorce. When there is a significant change in circumstances (for example, the paying parent losses his or her job, or they become disabled or injured) a parent may be incapable of paying their current child support obligation.
It’s important to note that misfortune does not cancel a parent’s obligation to pay child support. If something were to happen to you, and you could not afford to pay your current child support obligation, you would be well served to contact an attorney for assistance.
If you lose your job or if you’re injured in a serious accident, it does not mean that your child support obligation will cease to exist. On the contrary, it will continue to accrue unless the court agrees to a modification. Child support arrears are not retroactive, so it is important to act fast if you run into trouble making your payments.
What About a Workplace Injury?
Suppose you are injured in a bad accident at work. Depending on the extent of your injuries and whether you’ll be receiving temporary, impairment, supplemental, or lifetime income benefits, your workers’ compensation benefit could be around 70% of your average weekly wage, which means you will be receiving less than you were earning before the injury. This could mean hundreds, if not thousands of dollars less than you were earning before.
The question we often hear from injured workers on the subject of child support is, “Will child support be taken out of my workers’ compensation benefits, or can I stop paying until I return to work?” If you fail to pay child support, the local child support agency can garnish your workers’ compensation benefits to pay the past-due child support. Therefore, yes, child support can be taken out of your workers’ compensation benefits.
If you are injured at work and you take home less than you did before, a motion can be filed with the court, asking the court to reduce your child support obligation. This is called a “downward modification.”
If you are in this situation and your current child support has become a burden due to your reduced income, we urge you to contact our Cypress divorce firm.