Understanding the Impact of Workers’ Compensation on Child Support


If a worker sustains an injury on the job and receives workers’ compensation, this could affect child support obligations in a number of ways. Specifically, parents may discover that funds recovered from workers’ comp impact the division of assets and child support calculations in divorce proceedings.

How Workers’ Comp Works

Workers’ compensation is money that a worker receives as compensation for injuries sustained on the job. To qualify for workers’ compensation, workers need to have endured injuries connected to their employment. Some instances of workers’ compensation could include when a worker is injured by unsecured equipment when performing duties, or if he or she winds up in an accident while performing a delivery in a company vehicle.

If a worker receives workers’ comp, the payment will typically function as a replacement for a personal injury claim that workers might otherwise file against employers or employers’ insurance companies.

Workers’ Compensation and Shared or Separate Property

Generally, marital property will include all funds from any source that an individual acquires while married. These income sources could include work, pension, retirement accounts, rentals, and appreciation of assets. When filing for divorce, individuals will need to divide marital assets with their spouses, and the total value of assets will help determine which parent will need to pay child support and the amount of support.

Separate property, meanwhile, is the property that a person earns or acquires before marriage or after a divorce, meaning it won’t be subject to division throughout divorce proceedings. Whether workers’ comp falls under separate or marital property will depend on how and when the worker received the awards. In most cases, if a worker sustained a work-related injury and received workers’ compensation awards while married, these funds will be considered shared. However, if workers received the funds before or after their marriage, they will be separate.

Bearing this in mind, it’s important to know that in most states, even if a workers’ comp award is considered separate property, it’s still considered income that factors into child support calculations. Consulting with a family law attorney could help determine whether workers’ comp awards are marital or separate property.

Workers’ Comp’s Impact on Divorce and Child Support

Depending on the nature of workers’ compensation awards and the state where the recipient is getting divorced, workers’ comp could have an effect on divorce proceedings.

For instance, if a recipient lives in a state where workers’ comp is considered a personal injury award, the courts may treat them as marital or separate property. Specifically, the parts of a workers’ comp award that cover medical bills and lost wages while the recipient was married will be considered marital property. Meanwhile, parts of the award that cover expenses before or after marriage will be separate property.

When it comes to child support, most states will take workers’ comp awards into consideration when calculating child support payments. On the other hand, if a parent is making less income after receiving workers’ comp awards, the parent may be able to request a reduction in child support payments. Speaking with a divorce attorney can help gauge how workers’ comp earnings will impact child support.