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How Child Support Payments Can Change Following Car Accidents


If you divorce a former spouse, or you don’t live with your child or the children’s other parent, you probably know all about child support. You must give the other parent money they’ll use for the child’s requirements. They might buy food with it, and also clothing and other items the child or children need.


A judge sets the amount you must pay. Maybe you feel that’s a reasonable amount. You might also grumble about it if you think it’s too much.



Either way, if a vehicle hits your car and injures you, that might change your child support situation. These scenarios happen sometimes, and we’ll discuss them now.


Child Support Modifications Following a Car Accident


You can usually modify child support requirements to account for changes in your financial situation. This applies to car accidents, but sometimes to other misadventures as well.


If you hurt yourself and can’t work like you usually can, it makes sense you can’t provide the money you could previously. A judge should understand that and act accordingly.


If you require a child support modification, you must ask for one. This process involves proving you can’t work like you normally would. When you appear in court, you might go alone, or maybe you have a lawyer with you.


Either way, you can show the judge that you have a limb in a sling or that you have on a walking boot. That alone won’t convince them, though.


You must show them paperwork or other documentation establishing your current physical condition that prevents you from working. You might have a doctor’s testimony you can use that indicates you can’t work for some time. The judge likely will not modify your payments without sufficient evidence.


Child Support Guidelines

Every state has child support guidelines. You will doubtless learn about them when you split from the other parent, and the court system tells you how much you should pay each month. At that point, they look at the child’s needs, and they look at how much money you make.


If you need child support modification, you must petition the judge. You must also give the other parent the appropriate paperwork.


To successfully get a court’s modification, you must show that you’re not making as much money anymore, or possibly no money if you’ve hurt yourself and can’t work. You might also request a modification if the other parent hasn’t let you see your child as they previously agreed.


You might request a modification if the child’s expenses change, such as how much healthcare or daycare costs. If the child’s needs change, that might also affect the amount you must give each month. Maybe the child contracts some illness, and the other parent needs additional money for treatment.


These Changes Aren’t Usually Permanent


Depending on the changes that brought about you paying less or more each month, the monetary difference might last for weeks, months, or years. If you hurt yourself in a car wreck, you might pay less permanently, but only if you sustained a permanent or lasting injury.


If you hurt yourself but you expect you’ll recover in time, you may have a fluid situation regarding how much you have to pay. You will likely pay less for a while, and you might attend physical therapy sessions or sit at home healing. Maybe you also need an operation if your injury requires repairs a surgeon can administer.


Eventually, you can start getting back on your feet. When you can work again with no issues, you’ll likely pay the full child support amount again.


Until that time, the other parent has to pick up the slack. If you can’t provide the money the child needs, and the other parent can’t provide it either, they might look into state or government assistance programs for help.


Contact a Lawyer


If you hurt yourself in a car wreck and can’t pay your child support any longer, you must complete a child support payment modification request and get it to a judge without delay. That process might confuse you since it’s complex and fairly lengthy.


You should contact a lawyer who can help you with it. Some attorneys and law firms handle these cases frequently, and you’ll likely need one.


They can help you get the documentation you need and file it. By doing so, you can avoid fees and penalties you would otherwise face. As a responsible parent, you must do this.


Photo Credit: DepositPhotos.com


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