A couple going through a divorce may be concerned if one spouse is in the process of a personal injury settlement. They may be wondering if the court will divide it based on equity or based on community-property law.
Laws regarding family and personal injury affairs differ between states. It is always best to consult a lawyer who can advise you on your unique situation when faced with an overlapping lawsuit and divorce. There are some general factors that apply to most cases like this:
- Is your state a community-property state or an equitable distribution state?
- When the accident happened and whether it occurred in the workplace, as a result of medical malpractice or unlawful dismissal.
- When the couple became separated or divorced.
- Particular details of the divorce.
The Difference Between Community-Property and Equitable Distribution
The state you live in affects the division of your marital property in divorce proceedings. In a community-property state, the court may divide your marital property in half, which means your personal injury settlement may be divided equally between you and your spouse. States that agree on equitable distribution will analyze the case before finalizing a divorce settlement. Consulting an attorney will help clarify what to expect from your state.
Equitable Distribution of Personal Injury Settlement
Most states use equitable distribution when dividing marital property during a divorce. However, laws regarding personal injury awards vary by state. A portion of the settlement award may be considered marital property if the injury was sustained during the marriage. Although consulting your attorney is best when deciding if your settlement will be considered such, generally the courts will factor in these details when discussing division of the award:
- All assets acquired from the start of your marriage until the time of your divorce.
- If there was a prenuptial agreement and and how it discusses how to divide the marital property in case of divorce.
- What type of injury sustained and if the damage affects only the individual or both spouses.
Consult a Professional
The court will determine how the personal injury award is divided among each spouse or if it will even be divided at all. Hiring a personal injury or divorce attorney will give you better legal guidance on how your state handles personal injury awards during a divorce proceeding. Call to consult a divorce lawyer today!
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Scroggins Law Group for their knowledge about divorce.