When we get married, we promise to stay together until “death do us part.”
But, while we may enter marriage with these intentions, it doesn’t always work that way. In fact, close to 40% of marriages in America end in divorce.
Unfortunately, divorce can be a messy process. In addition to ending your life together, you also need to divide property and assets with your former spouse.
Many people are surprised to learn that their ex is entitled to a portion of their income when they divorce in the form of alimony. But what about other forms of income, like workers’ compensation?
If you’re wondering, “Is my spouse entitled to my personal injury settlement?” then keep reading. Let’s take a closer look.
When Was the Money Acquired?
The first factor that will determine whether your spouse can come after your personal injury settlement is when the money was awarded.
As a general rule, any assets acquired during the marriage, other than gifts, are considered marital property. During a divorce, either partner can make a claim for marital property to be divided equitably.
In this case, the actual date of the legal dissolution of your marriage matters. Even if you and your spouse have stopped living together, you can still accrue marital property until the divorce is final.
Even if you were awarded the money before the marriage, your spouse might still be able to make a claim on it. This depends on whether you kept the money separate, or “comingled” it with combined assets. For instance, if you kept the money in a joint bank account, it might be considered comingled with your spouse’s assets.
What Was the Money Awarded For?
The next factor that will be considered is the purpose the money was awarded for.
In a personal injury case, damages can be awarded for different reasons. These include monetary property loss, medical expenses, and lost wages. Money awarded for these reasons is likely divisible with your ex.
By contrast, a portion of the money may be awarded for “pain and suffering,” which can include emotional pain, general distress, and inconvenience. Depending on the laws in your state, money awarded for pain and suffering may be treated differently.
What About Workers Compensation?
Workers’ compensation benefits are slightly different than money awarded through a personal injury settlement.
A personal injury settlement is a lump sum paid at the end of a lawsuit regarding an injury. By contrast, workers’ compensation is a state-funded benefit to provide for employees who were injured on the job. Typically, an individual must meet with workers compensation doctors to confirm injuries.
If you’ve been awarded workers’ compensation to replace lost wages during the course of your marriage, it will probably be considered marital property. If, however, it was awarded to cover loss of future wages, it may be exempted.
Is My Spouse Entitled to My Personal Injury Settlement?
If you’re wondering “Is my spouse entitled to my personal injury settlement,” it’s important to know that you have options. Working with the right attorney can help you keep the money you’ve been awarded?
Have more legal questions? Check out the rest of our blog for more help.