In a divorce case, a spouse’s compensation for his or her pain and suffering from personal injuries is generally considered to be that spouse’s separate property. Nonetheless, under certain circumstances, a spouse’s compensation for personal injuries may be marital property that might be divided in a divorce proceeding.
Personal Injury Awards as Separate Property
The general rule is that the compensation a spouse receives for his or her personal injuries belongs to that spouse. Indeed, in divorce cases, these monies will be considered separate property. Determination of what is marital property and what is separate property will be decided by the court if the spouses cannot agree. If you are going through a divorce and you believe you have a claim to a portion of your spouse’s compensation for personal injuries, you may want to consult with an Atlanta personal injury lawyer.
Legal standard regarding personal injury awards in divorce cases
The court has given the following direction for considering whether a spouse’s personal injury award is marital property or separate property:
If a portion of the personal injury award is determined to be marital property, the court will equitably divide that portion. The court will consider each spouse’s financial need for the award.
In determining whether a portion of the personal injury settlement proceeds is marital property, the court will consider how close that portion is intertwined with the injured spouse’s injuries.
The court may also consider how awarding one spouse a portion of the personal injury settlement proceeds will affect the welfare of the other spouse.
What should I do if I get injured due to someone else’s fault when I am in the middle of a divorce?
It may be wise to structure your personal injury settlement to effectuate a favorable outcome for you in the divorce case. While both the divorce and personal injury case are pending, you may want to consult with both a personal injury lawyer and divorce lawyer to strategically structure your personal injury settlement to minimize the portion of the settlement amount that will be determined to be marital property.
Division of Personal Injury Settlement Proceeds
Portions of a personal injury settlement proceeds may be marital property and other portions may be separate property. This determination depends on to which specific damages each portion corresponds. For instance, pain and suffering may be separate property, but past medical expenses may be marital property. Also, compensation for lost income may be marital property.
Marital property will be equitably divided in a divorce proceeding. If you have a valid prenuptial agreement, the court will enforce that agreement in dividing the assets, including personal injury settlement proceeds.
No one knows for certain how a personal injury case will end. A personal injury case may continue for a long period of time and you could wind up getting no compensation. On the other hand, you might be awarded millions of dollars. Your divorce case might come to an end before your personal injury case comes to a conclusion. For more information about divorce and personal injury, you may need the help of a Chicago divorce lawyer and personal injury lawyer in Atlanta.
Asserting a claim to your spouse’s personal injury case
If your spouse is injured during your divorce proceeding, you may want to make a claim to a portion of any future settlement proceeds as marital property. As long as the portion of the personal injury settlement proceeds is determined to be marital property, that portion will be subject to equitable division.