In North Carolina, a personal injury settlement award is considered non-recurring income in terms of child support. Child support, however, is a regularly recurring payment. When income is received on a non-recurring basis (such as a personal injury settlement award), the court may require a parent to pay a percentage of this income as regular child support payment.
Nothing in the law says that the settlement award is safe and cannot be used as income to satisfy child support payments. Settlement awards can be paid out in lump sums, or in payments over a period of time. The judges have great discretion over how they ration out a settlement award over a period of time. The judge can consider all or a portion of that income to be distributed as child support.
Beware if you owe child support! North Carolina takes child support very seriously, so it is important to know that if you win a personal injury settlement and are behind on child support payments, the money that you owe can be taken to pay back any owed child support. A lien will be taken out on the settlement award to ensure that the child support is paid.
Having an experienced attorney can help protect you so that your income is not considered to be significantly higher than what it is due to a settlement award. Contact our family law attorney today for a consultation on how your personal injury settlement will impact your child support payments.