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Can Workers’ Compensation Benefits be Garnished for Child Support?

Child support serves many purposes for Californians. The best interests of the child or children is the state’s primary concern. In setting or compelling payment of child support, California considers the payment of workers’ compensation benefits to be a substitute for an injured employee’s usual and customary income during the interim when he or she is temporarily and totally disabled. As the temporary total disability payment operates as substitute income, the injured parent is required to continue satisfying his or her child support obligation. On the other hand, if the custodial parent is injured at work, his or her obligation to support the child also remains.

A garnishment is a court order that requires a person owing money to another person to pay all or part of that money to a third person for purposes of satisfying a debt. Should a noncustodial parent fail to pay child support from their workers’ compensation disability benefits, he or she should expect to see those benefits garnished. Upon proper notice, motion and court order, an individual who is receiving workers’ compensation benefits for temporary total disability will have child support payments deducted from such payments. That sum then goes directly to the custodial parent.

Temporary Total Disability vs. Permanent Partial Disability
What might come to issue is any compensation that is paid for permanent partial disability. Although income based, a family court judge might not consider such a payment to be compensation for a loss of the person as a whole as opposed to income.

Petitioning for Modification
A noncustodial parent might avoid part of a child support obligation based on a material change of circumstances. An on-the-job injury and payment of workers’ compensation benefits might qualify as a temporary material change in circumstances. This would be determined on a case by case basis that a family court judge must rule on. Again, the only way to legally reduce a child support obligation is by proper notice, motion and court order.

Contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Attorney

In almost all cases when someone is injured on the job, the worker will get the best possible outcome by hiring an experienced Sacramento workers’ compensation lawyer.

Attorney Alice A. Strömbom focuses exclusively on Workers’ Compensation Law. She is very familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to avoid providing the medical treatment and disability benefits injured workers deserve, and has a recognized track record in combating such issues.

Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation.