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While on workers comp do I have to pay alimony?

Your divorce orders may require you to make alimony payments. Those payments may be for a limited period of time, or they may continue indefinitely. If you were injured on the job and are receiving workers compensation payments as a result of working with an attorney like a trusted Palm Beach County workers compensation lawyer, you wonder if this has any effect on your alimony payments.

Each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have their own workers compensation programs. The answer to whether or not you have to pay alimony while you're on workers comp is that it depends on your judgment and the jurisdiction in which you reside.

  • Your alimony payments may be modifiable, and it may not be.
  • Your alimony payments may be for a definite period, and it may be until further order of the court.
  • Your alimony payments may be affected by the reduction of your income because of your injury.

You May Still Have to Pay

In most cases, you may still have to pay a minimum amount of alimony. Often, workers compensation payments provide a replacement of significant income. A court is likely to see workers compensation payments as income that's available to pay alimony. However, they're going to look at the entire picture to make a determination in light of the entire circumstances. Workers compensation is often only a percentage of a person’s normal wage or salary and so the court may take into account that your income is at least temporarily reduced.

Modifiable vs. Non-Modifiable Alimony

The first step to determining whether or not you still have pay alimony when you're on workers comp is to look at your judgment of divorce. It might speak to whether spousal support is modifiable or not. If spousal support is non-modifiable, there's nothing you can do to change the amount. You will have to find a way to pay it.

On the other hand, your court order may say that spousal support is modifiable. If that's the case, you can petition the court to ask for a change. When your alimony payments are modifiable, you're free to ask the court to reduce or terminate the payments on a temporary or permanent basis. The latter will not likely be approved unless your injury is deemed permanent by your physician.

  • You must show the court that you have fewer resources to pay support than you had before sustaining your injury.
  • You must prove a reduction in income. This may be due to increased medical bills or other injury-related costs in addition to decreased pay.
  • You must show that the reduction in income is significant.

What if my divorce is still pending?

If your judgment of divorce isn't finalized yet, your alimony payments are likely temporary. In that case, you can probably petition the court to modify or terminate the temporary order for alimony. In addition, this may change the circumstances for the court's consideration as they make a final determination about alimony in the case.

How to Make a Change

If you're eligible to make a change in your alimony payments, you need to ask the court to order the change. It's important to remember that courts speak through their written orders. That means, until there's a new court order, you must continue to make your payments under the old order. The court may date the change to the day you file the motion, or they might make the change effective as of the date of the new order. A family law attorney can help you prepare and submit the proper legal documents to the court.

How can an attorney help?

In addition to representing you in court, an attorney can help you evaluate your case. They likely know the judges and the local courts. Their insight can give you a good idea as to whether you're likely to succeed in bringing a motion to change your alimony payments.

This is important because you might have to pay fees if the court believes that you bought a frivolous motion before the court. Your attorney can help you maximize your chances for success. They can help you gather evidence and prepare arguments in a way that can help present your case in the best light.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig, & Neuwelt for their added insight into workers compensation practice.

Categories: Divorce
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Summerall Law, P.C. - Oakland Estate Planning Attorney
Located at 3873 Piedmont Avenue, Suite 8,
Oakland, CA 94611
Phone: (415) 944-9406
Local Phone: (415) 944-9406
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