If you suffered a personal injury in Kona due to someone else’s negligence and have been awarded a much-deserved settlement, you’re probably heaving a sigh of relief. However, if you owe child support, you’re probably thinking about whether or not your past-due child support payments will affect your settlement amount.
The simple answer to this question is, yes. A lien may be placed on the settlement received, which will garnish funds from it to pay for the past-due child support.
If you’re surprised to learn this, you’re not alone. In fact, this can come as a rude shock to someone who owes thousands of dollars in child support arrears. In case you find yourself in such a situation, make it a point to explore your legal options by consulting a personal injury attorney in Hawaii.
Legal Terminology That You Should Understand
Before moving ahead, you should familiarize yourself with two legal terms that are often used in cases that involve the garnishment of personal injury settlement to pay child support. These are:
I. Lien: This refers to an individual’s right to take possession of property owned by another person until the latter repays the money owed by them. For example, a lien may be placed in your house title if you borrowed money from a loan company.
II. Arrear: This refers to money that an individual owes, which should have already been paid. “Unpaid child support arrears,” for instance, means missed child support payments.
In this context, if you have child support arrears, the state can place a lien on the settlement awarded for your personal injury claim in Kona.
As per law, it is absolutely legal to put a lien on a personal injury settlement. If you’re due to receive a personal injury settlement soon, you should know how a lien can impact the amount.
As mentioned, a lien is a legal right over an asset to procure payment for a debt. As experienced Kona lawyers, we know that the state can garnish the income you receive if you are lagging in your child support payments. In order to put a lien, the other parent can seek legal help and enforce child support.
If you owe child support, you will be notified about it by mail. If the state decides to intervene by taking a part of your settlement, they will notify you as well as the insurance company. The insurance company will then act on settling the payments.
Through all of this, it is crucial that you take the help of a seasoned Kona lawyer, who can liaise with the insurance company and make them aware of the damage and injuries caused to you, your current and future medical bills, and so on.
How a Lien Affects the Payments in Kona, Hawaii
Once your personal injury settlement amount is decided, the money is first directed towards paying your medical bills and attorney fees. The remaining amount is either given to you or held up for paying child support arrears.
You may be concerned about whether or not you need to pay all the child support you owe. There is no straightforward answer to this query. It greatly depends on the state in which you owe child support.
Some states mandate that you clear all your child support arrears before the payment is given to you. Other states set a minimum amount that will be given to you. Anything remaining after the payment of your medical bills and attorney fees will be directed towards child support.
Working with a well-practiced Kona lawyer may help you figure things out as well as negotiate and lower the amount you owe.
Paying Child Support When You Are Not Employed
If you are not working and are unable to pay child support, it is best to petition the court for help. A good Kona lawyer may be able to get your payment deadlines postponed until after you receive the settlement amount.
Moreover, you might be able to formulate a payback plan to keep your past-due child support from being taken out of your settlement monies. It is recommended to consult a qualified personal injury attorney in Hawaii to understand the best way forward in your case. Depending on your case facts, your lawyer can work something out in your favor.
Getting Child Support Payments Legally Modified in Kona
When someone is awaiting a settlement, they are usually unemployed and still recovering from the injuries caused by another party. Also, people’s situation keeps changing, and they may lose their job for one reason or another.
In keeping with this, most states allow the modification of child support payments every three years. If you’re unable to afford child support payments, you should consider putting in a modification request in court. You can work with your trusted attorney and ensure that the payments do not become a financial burden on you.
By hiring a Kona lawyer at the right time, you can ensure that your child support payments don’t turn into arrears and a lien is not placed on your personal injury settlement amount. Your lawyer can be your best ally and help you work out a way to deal with your specific situation in the most prudent manner.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Hawaii Today
If you’re expecting to receive a personal injury settlement and wondering how it will affect your child support obligations, speak to a Kona lawyer at Olson & Sons immediately. We will help you figure out the nitty-gritty of fulfilling your support obligations with confidence. Schedule a consultation by calling at our Kona office on 808-331-3113 or our Kamuela office on 808-885-8533 today!