During the time of divorce, many factors work in the process of dividing the marital assets. Usually apart from the gifts and inheritances, other properties accumulated in marriage are considered as the marital assets that need to be divided equitably among the spouses during their divorce.
Many people find themselves in peculiar situations such as they have received a larger amount of settlement due to some personal injury (tjryanlaw.com) verdicts involving car accidents. Now they cannot make out whether their spouse can claim the settlement money during their divorce or not.
Yes, in such situation a wife can claim some of the settlement money. The amount depends on the timing when the spouse demands the settlement and the type of damage for which the husband or wife has been compensated. Now marital assets are considered jointly as long as the finalized date of the divorce decree. The date of divorce decree is the last date of accumulation of the marital assets in equitable division.
If the settlement money from the personal injury verdict is received before the final date of divorce decree, it is considered as the joint asset where the spouse can claim his or her portion. If the settlement is received after the finalization of divorce, then the entire amount will go to the spouse entire considering it as the part of his/her total assets.
In some cases, if your spouse does not claim the recovery amount as the joint asset, it may benefit him or her, based on the circumstances. For instance, if it is considered as the part of your total assets, your spouse may argue specifically that you have the ability to pay lump sum alimony.
In that case, you need to pay more rather than showing the amount as the joint assets. However, the entire amount is not divided, as some of the damages will be considered as your ‘personal damages’ for which you are compensated that will not be dividable.
For different types of injuries, different amounts are paid for personal injury claims. However, there damages assigned for the medical expenses, lost wages, and the loss of property considered as monetary damages. There are also personal damages where monetary amount is paid for the things like suffering and pain, loss of consortium, emotional distress.
As per the law, since a person owns compensatory damages as personal amount, these are not dividable. Therefore, the spouse cannot demand on the settlement apportioned as ‘loss of consortium’ or ‘pain and suffering’ as these are not dividable among the spouses during the time of divorce. In case of gifts and inheritance, the same rule is applied where these are considered as the personal property of the spouse and hence these are undividable.
However, the amount assigned as monetary recovery such as lost wages and the medical expenses are dividable because both the spouses remain affected for the loss of income and expenses. Therefore, your spouse has the right to claim on that recovery as the joint asset during the time of your divorce. However, your divorce attorney who claims the amount on behalf of your spouse can handle the entire matter.