Are Personal Injury Settlements Considered as Marital Property
In most cases, marital property does not include personal injury settlements. However, there are some exclusions. For instance, if you paid for medical care using marital funds, compensation for that medical care is considered marital property. Compensation for your personal pain and suffering is not considered marital property.
However, a personal injury attorney can guide you through the claims process and avoid mistakes that could affect your settlement. The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato stands ready to champion your rights. Call (954) 633-8270 to get started.
What Is Marital Property?
Marital property in Florida includes the assets and debts the spouses acquire during their marriage. Even if an asset or debt is only in one spouse’s name, Florida laws put the responsibility on both spouses for that obligation. Assets include:
- Property: Any properties acquired during the marriage, such as homes
- Money: Income the spouses acquired during the marriage
- Retirement accounts: Florida Statutes § 61.076 defines the distribution of retirement funds upon the marriage’s dissolution
According to Florida Statutes § 61.075, Florida believes married couples should divide their assets equally between themselves during a divorce. The factors judges look at when dividing marital property include:
- Both spouses’ income and earning potential
- The length of the marriage
- The number of children under the age of 18 still living at home
- The assets and debt of each spouse
Personal Injury Settlements Are Usually Not Considered Marital Property
In most cases, personal injury settlements are not considered marital property during a divorce. This is because, during a personal injury case, compensation compensates the injured person––not the injured person’s partner.
Yet, there are some exceptions, which may include:
- The injured party recovers lost income. Spouses share income as a means of supporting themselves. If your household lost income during your recovery period, the state considers reimbursement for that lost income as marital property.
- One party deposited the settlement funds into the marital bank account. You may have received compensation as a lump sum deposited into a joint account. This could make it difficult for the court to tell your assets apart.
- Spousal funds paid for Medical Bills. As noted, if spousal funds paid for medical bills, compensation for those expenses is considered marital property.
- Whether you pay alimony. The courts may order you to pay alimony, also known as spousal support. If your settlement dramatically increases your financial resources, those funds may pay alimony to your spouse.
A personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can explain your rights and uphold them. They will use their network of resources to determine marital property and protect what you’ve recovered.
What Is Considered Non-Marital Property?
Non-marital property belongs to an individual. It does not belong to the marriage. Examples of non-marital property include:
Assets You Acquired Before the Marriage
You may have recovered an injury settlement before getting married. Those funds would belong to you––not your spouse.
Various Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, account for your hardships—not your spouse’s. Compensation for scarring, disability, and disfigurement is your property, since they account for your personal hardships.
You may continue receiving compensation after finalizing your divorce. These payments are not marital property since your marriage has ended. However, it may affect how much you pay for child support and alimony.
Anything Outlined in a Prenuptial Agreement
You and your spouse may have a prenuptial agreement. If you divorce, this protects some of your assets. Some of those assets may relate to any money secured via an insurance settlement or lawsuit.
Why Partner with a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you’re filing for divorce, you don’t want to forfeit any money to your ex-spouse. You want to recover everything you need to pay for your losses. When you partner with a Fort Myers personal injury lawyer, they will protect your right to damages and explain your options.
They may advise:
- Creating a separate account. If you create a separate account, you can put your personal injury settlement there. This will make it easier for the divorce court to divide your assets fairly. It would also prevent you from paying more than you owe your former spouse.
- Only using your settlement for your damages. Your attorney may suggest using your settlement to pay for your medical bills––not your shared spousal assets, such as car payments.
- Settling your case after your divorce. If you settle your injury case after your divorce, compensation is not marital property.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato
Your Florida personal injury lawyer may advise other measures that could benefit your situation. You can learn more during a free case review with our team at the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato. Contact us at 954-633-8270.