If your marriage is ending and you stand to receive a personal injury award before the divorce is final, you no doubt want to know what will happen to the funds. Will the money be considered to be separate from the marriage – meaning that it will all go to you? Or is a personal injury settlement marital property and, therefore, subject to division?
The answer you’re hoping to see is that the entire award will remain outside of the divorce settlement – and that may be what happens. However, depending upon the specifics of your case, your soon-to-be ex-spouse may be entitled to a portion of the proceeds.
To protect your legal rights and interests, you’d be wise to consult with a personal injury lawyer. But in the meantime, you may find the following information helpful.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
As a general rule, property that is acquired by either spouse during a marriage is marital property. The family home, vehicles, investments, stocks, high-value collectibles – all of these and anything else the couple amassed while married falls under this category.
Separate property, on the other hand, refers to any property that belongs to only one individual. This may include an inheritance, for example, or property owned prior to the marriage.
Injury awards are typically not considered to be marital property, so the settlement money may all go to you. However, some portions may be subject to division in a divorce.
Dividing an Injury Settlement
Injury awards are intended to cover a wide range of losses, some which may have affected both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. The portions of your settlement which may be divided in your divorce include:
- Compensation for money that went toward medical bills and treatment expenses
- Compensation for lost income when marital funds were used to support both parties
- Compensation for loss of spousal support or a loss of consortium resulting from the injury
Much of your settlement is intended to compensate you, the injured party, for losses you bore alone. The following damages should be yours to keep:
- Compensation for mental anguish, pain and suffering
- Compensation for a permanent disability or disfigurement
- Compensation for any future medical expenses
- Compensation for additional job training
Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
When it comes to the division of an injury award in a divorce, the law isn’t all that clearly defined. An experienced injury lawyer – like the team at William R. Rawlings & Associates – can work with your divorce attorney and fight to protect what is rightfully yours.
Personal injury awards can involve a great deal of money, and you need a skilled advocate to ensure that your soon-to-be ex-spouse doesn’t get more of your settlement than they deserve. You’ll find that advocate at William R. Rawlings & Associates. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation with a personal injury lawyer today.