October 18, 2019

Does my Child Support Payment Automatically Adjust Downwards if I am Out Under Workers’ Compensation?

contempt of court for past due child supportUnder Georgia law, you are eligible to receive 2/3 of your average weekly wage with a  maximum of $500 per week.  The average weekly wage calculation is just that – an average.   Your employer calculates your average weekly wage by looking at your payroll for the 13 weeks preceding your accident and arrives at an “average weekly wage.”   My experience has been that this calculation is usually correct, although I do look at the numbers.  There is a slightly different calculation if you have not been employed for 13 weeks.

In any case, your average weekly wage will be less than your actual weekly wage, and because you are out with an injury, you will, presumably, not be able to work at any second job or earn overtime.

If you are paying child support, that payment was most likely calculated based on your actual earnings over some period of time.  Now that you are earning less, what happens?

If you do not take any action, nothing will happen.  There is no automatic adjustment to your child support obligations simply because you are injured and claiming workers’ compensation.

Instead, you need to take action if it appears that you will be receiving a reduced income under workers’ comp, or worse, if your employer is challenging your claim and you are receiving nothing.

If you have a lawyer who has represented you in a child support case, call that lawyer.  If you do not have a lawyer, you will need to deal directly with the custodial parent or with child support enforcement.   You may be able to arrange for a temporary reduction in your child support obligations and agree to repay the reduced amount at the time of settlement.

If you do nothing, you will find yourself with a delinquency in your child support payments.  Superior Court judges in Georgia will not hesitate to incarcerate you if your delinquency gets too large or if the custodial parent or child support enforcement office take an aggressive approach towards collection.  Incarceration will greatly reduce the settlement value of your case because your medical treatment will be interrupted and because you cannot argue that you are suffering an economic loss due to your injury.

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Jodi Ginsberg

Attorney Jodi Ginsberg represents employees who are injured on the job and who need medical care and missed wage benefits available under Georgia's workers' compensation laws.

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