Can my ex get my settlement money?

The question that I’ve heard from time to time is “can my ex-spouse get my personal injury settlement or workers’ compensation checks for child support?”

The answer is case specific, and if you’ve been injured in an accident at work or were in a motor vehicle accident, I recommend contacting me to discuss the details.  However, generally speaking, no, an ex-spouse is not automatically entitled to a personal injury settlement or an injured employee’s workers’ compensation checks.

However, if child support is owed by a noncustodial parent, also referred to as arrears, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services may create a child support lien against the insurance settlement.  The lien is not available in all cases and is not automatic.  For a more thorough discussion on North Carolina’s laws regarding child support and personal injury settlements, check out the following link here.

It is important to identify whether child support is an issue in workers’ compensation cases or personal injury cases.  Injured workers and victims that are under a child support order should be aware that they may be able to petition the court to modify the order since they may be missing work due to the accident, and therefore not making as much.  An application to modify a child support order in North Carolina is available here.   Accident victims should realize that the modification is likely effective the date of the motion, and not the date of the accident.  In other words, if you owe child support or under a child support order and were injured at work or elsewhere, you may want to contact an attorney, sooner than later in order to discuss your options.