Does Divorce Affect a Personal Injury Settlement?
Divorces can be difficult— both physically and emotionally. While these proceedings are challenging in themselves, asset division simply makes matters worse.
Close to 50% of all marriages in the United States end up in a divorce. With these statistics in place, it is vital to take up your property distribution during the separation attentively. When in court, the judge can only divide and allocate assets that belong to both parties or based on the needs. He is allowed to settle assets that are marital and has no role to play in the individual properties of the couple.
The property structures and how these assets are associated with you must be clearly stated to make the required claims. At the time of marriage dissolution, the splitting of assets often becomes extensive. While shared properties can easily be divided, decisions on settlements like a personal injury can become a matter of debate.
Although the final call depends on the nature of your case, it is essential to be well aware of the different property types and how they are considered at the time of divorce.
What Are The Different Kinds of Properties?
Before jumping onto the aspects coming under marital assets, let us first dive into what they actually mean.
Any settlement, gift, or property awarded to a specific person becomes his individual and separate property. The sole owner of the property lies with the individual, and he has all rights to retain them.
Items inherited by a person come under separate property tags, which are often non-shareable. It could be a souvenir, land, or any house— they are dedicatedly owned by the individual.
All the property that is bought or acquired in marriage falls under the category of community property. It is likely to be in the community property state and is shared by the couple.
All assets belonging to a married couple are often taken as community property unless stated otherwise. These are jointly owned by both individuals and are divided equally at the time of separation.
How Are Personal Injury Settlements Divided During a Divorce?
Given the varying nature of the properties owned, distributing assets can be complex. While personal injury settlements are usually treated as separate property, their division can differ based on the case. Below mentioned are some of the ways affecting the settlement distribution for a personal injury:
Settlements for Economic Damages
Economic damages, including loss of wages at the time of marriage or payments made for the past or future medical bills, tend to be considered as marital assets and are subject to division during a divorce.
Since these damages impact both the people involved or have a financial involvement that was initially dedicated to the marriage, these are shared by the couple.
Loss of Consortium Damages
Consortium damages are claimed by the non-injured partner who is severely affected by the injury caused to the spouse.
Since this settlement is aimed to compensate for the individual loss of companionship or issues in the relationship, it is taken as a non-marital asset for the non-injured partner.
Settlements for Non-economic Damages
Whether it is a pain, suffering, or discomfort accompanying a personal injury— all these are settled with the injured person who is the sufferer in this case. It is considered a non-marital asset for the injured spouse and does not stand for the division at the time of divorce.
More often than not, damages compensated for a personal injury are itemized. This requires the judge to firmly scrutinize the settlement and include specific portions of the itemized award to marital assets property division.
In case of no itemized damages, the entire personal injury settlement is dedicated as a non-marital asset for the injured spouse.
You are not alone to undergo a divorce and worry about the asset division taking place at the time. We at the Law Offices of Wolf and Pravato understand you and strive to offer best-in-class assistance for all your legal affairs.