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Divorce Help | May 28, 2024

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How a Divorce Can Affect Your Personal Injury Settlement - Divorce Help

  • Contributing Author

In addition to the emotional turmoil that comes with a divorce, the finances of both individuals involved can be thrown into the chaotic mix as well. According to recent studies, a surprising 28% of marriages are due to financial reasons instead of love. So it only makes sense that when things turn sour, money becomes a common source of tension.

While property and income streams that were accumulated together are usually split down the middle, what happens to money that is only available due to the actions of one party? This can include a personal injury settlement that has been awarded before the divorce or will be awarded after the divorce. 

What is considered marital property in a divorce?

During the marriage, having an exact estimate of who-owns-what isn’t necessarily a major concern. But in the event of a legal separation or divorce, it’s important to have an understanding of what is considered marital property and what is not. By definition, marital property is property that is acquired during the marriage. Property that was acquired before the marriage is considered separate property. An individual can protect their individual property by creating and signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. 

What happens if you get divorced with a personal injury settlement pending?

According to a Kansas City personal injury lawyer, injury claims “…can result in high medical costs. The damages from personal injury claims are awarded for different reasons. This can include medical expenses, lost wages from missing work, and other costs associated with the injury. The timeline with receiving the settlement can vary, with some damages being paid out immediately, while some can be stretched out into weeks, months, and years later. 

If your soon-to-be ex-spouse was impacted by the injury, such as the funds for treatment came from community property, they will still have a claim on the settlement regardless of your marital status.

Can non-economic damages be split during a divorce?

If your claim involves damages that are considered non-economic such as pain and suffering, these will not be considered marital property. These can not be split equally in the same way economic damages can. 

But there is a loophole to this. If the non-economic damages were used for marital assets, it will be considered marital property that can be subject to equitable division. For example, if the damages from the pain and suffering claim are used on marital property such as a mortgage payment, it can be included in the split. 

Getting divorced is not only emotionally and physically difficult, but financially as well. It’s easy for lines to become blurred between “what’s mine” and “what’s theirs”. Contact an experienced divorce or personal injury lawyer today to learn more about how divorce can impact your personal injury settlement.

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