Let’s say you’re a new mom, and things don’t work out with your spouse. The two of you each head your separate ways, and you get full child custody.
You also set up a child support system. Your ex will pay you a certain amount each month to help the child-rearing process.
Then, you learn that your ex has a personal injury lawsuit going. They’ve hired a lawyer, and they’re suing a company or individual. You might wonder if you’ll get any of the settlement money if the court finds in your ex’s favor.
It’s an interesting and multifaceted question. To figure out the answer, you’ll have to consider several factors.
What is Child Support?
Before we get into child support and personal injury claims, let’s make sure you understand precisely what we mean when we discuss the child support concept. Child support:
- Is a court-ordered payment system
- Is usually a non-custodial parent’s responsibility
The court grants one parent custody, and they determine a fair amount the other parent should get every month. They’ll figure out that amount by looking at what the parent makes and the child and other parent’s needs. That might include diapers, baby formula, food, rent, and utility payment money.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
As for a personal injury lawsuit, this is:
- A lawsuit an individual or individuals bring against an entity or person
- A way to claim injury or illness recompense
Your ex might hire an attorney and go after a store if they slipped and fell there while shopping. Maybe they’re targeting a company that manufactured a product that made them ill.
They might join a class action lawsuit if a product made several people sick. Maybe they’re going after their employer if they sustained injuries or suffered illnesses working in unsafe conditions.
As a single parent, what you’d hope is that you and your ex split up amicably. You don’t want there to be a lot of rancor because if you have a child together, you will probably have to deal with each other to some degree for the rest of your lives, or at least till the child turns eighteen.
Unfortunately, some divorces don’t go so well. Maybe your ex was verbally or physically abusive. You might not want to ever see them again, but at the same time, you need financial help raising the child.
You might be strong, independent, and willing to work long hours so your child can have a good life.
The problem isn’t your motivation. That always helps, but you still need to hire a babysitter or get someone to take care of your child if you’re working outside the home.
That’s often why you need child support. The money you make on your own might not cover all the child-rearing expenses.
Can You Expect Some of that Lawsuit Money?
To determine whether you’ll see some of that lawsuit money, you must first wait and see the suit’s outcome. Maybe the jury will determine that your ex is bringing a meritless lawsuit. Perhaps they lied about being sick, or they tried injury misrepresentation.
If the jury finds in your ex’s favor, they might grant them some money, but perhaps it will not be as much as they wanted. Every lawsuit is different, and the jury will always consider mitigating circumstances.
If your ex wins, they will also have to pay their lawyer. Many times, an individual will hire a lawyer according to a contingency payment plan. The lawyer might get as much as forty percent in some cases.
Now, your ex will see some of that money. The real question as to whether you’ll get any of it comes down to whether they owe you any child support payments. If they are behind in paying you, you can certainly demand some of that money so they’ll catch up.
They may not want to give it to you, but they have no choice if they owe you those payments. You can take them to court, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t win, provided they don’t try to claim that you’re not taking care of your child or using the money they’re giving you inappropriately.
If your ex is current on child support payments, you probably will not see any of that money. Since you’re no longer married, your only remaining connection is the child you share and the money your ex owes each month.