My bank account was frozen and $20K that I received from a Worker's Comp settlement was taken by a child support agency in Texas for arrears. The sticky part is that I currently have a payment play with these people as they take out $560/monthly from my disability check. The other thing I need to mention is that the child is not mine biologically and he's 18 and incarcerated for 5 years for a felony conviction. I have spoken to several lawyers who have basically stated it's useless to try and get the courts to recognize this child is not mine even though DNA proves it and I was never married to the mother. At this point, I just need to get my money back and stop this ongoing payment for a grown child who is not mine biologically.
This is an extremely complex issue and you need to speak with an attorney in Georgia who is well versed in bankruptcy, and family law. Child support is a priority debt which cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. That being said certain states including Illinois allow for the exemption of a workers compensation claim to be exempt in bankruptcy. However, I would have to look up the issue in Illinois to see if a DSO obligation or state agency can get at exempt money. From my understanding of family law and child support if you "adopt the child" and acknowledge that you are the father than you later after a certain amount of time claim that the child is not your even if DNA proves it. This is the rule in some certain states for public policy reasons. Your situation is not as simple as saying yes you can exempt the funds and the bank account will become unfrozen etc. etc. You need a lawyer period to review this and a very good one.
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Just to add on, you mentioned that the child support is in Texas. Texas recently amended the law in 2011, regarding termination where if you were adjudicated or signed an acknolwedgment of paternity without getting a DNA testing at that time and you were under teh mistaken belief that the child was yours, you can termiante paternity based on strictly a DNA testing that would be done after you file the termiantion. However, with that said, because child support is collecting for arrearagese, this termination will not wipe away your arrearages. It only wipes away your future liabilities for child support. Since the child is now 18, that obligation has automatically terminated anyhow. However, collection for arrearages will not stop. If there was a confirmation of arrearages, which it sounds like if they are tyring to collect from you, than that collection will continue even after the child turns 18 or even if you get the termination of paterinty.
In regards to worker comp being garnished, worker comp is a substitute payment for your normal pay check due to some injury at work. As such, for child support calculation, worker comp is income for the purpose of calculating child support. Generally, child support agency do have the right to intercept or withdraw the amount from worker comp payment. Regarding your payment plan, that is questionable. Was it something that was in writing or was it sometihng that was orally done over the telephone.
Sorry for the vague answer.
Consult a local bankruptcy attorney or collections attorney to assist you on the matter of the garnishment. Based on your facts, if the child is still residing in Texas, you may have to consult a Texas based family lawyer to assist you because under UCCJEA (determining jurisdiction in family law matters and which has been adopted by most states, if not all) the child's home state is the state he has been residing in for the last 6 months (very vague explanation of UCCJEA, alot more factors to consider).
Good luck and wish you success
Min Gyu Kim (Peter)
The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, and in no way be interpreted as legal advice. Consult with a local attorney in your area to receive an answer specific to your case. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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