If you’re going through a divorce and have previously received a personal injury settlement, you’re probably wondering if you’ll lose some of it to your spouse. It’s a natural thing to be nervous about. Since you were injured, you may still be juggling doctor’s visits or physical therapy and needs those funds to pay for it.
In this article, we’ll lay out the facts about personal injury settlements and divorce; when settlements are considered separate property or marital property, equitable distribution, and how the state of Georgia handles it.
Can My Spouse Get My Personal Injury Settlement?
Let’s begin with marital property vs. separate property:
- Marital vs. Separate Property – marital property is any assets acquired during the marriage by you or your spouse. Separate property is any asset owned by either of you before the marriage or inherited during the marriage. Personal injury settlements are typically considered separate property owned by the injury victim. But, some components of settlements can be treated as marital property.
When is the personal injury settlement considered marital property?
- When personal injury settlements compensate for lost wages or medical expenses incurred during the marriage, they are considered separate property. However, if those funds are used for other things like household expenses or are shared between the spouses, they become marital property and are subject to division during the divorce.
Is the settlement considered equitable and equal?
- Each state divides property differently during a divorce, and some don’t divide it equally. Some states follow an equitable distribution rule, meaning each spouse gets a fair share of the assets but not equal shares. It is the presiding judge who decides the asset distribution in this case.
Does My Spouse Have a Right to My Personal Injury Settlement in Georgia?
The state of Georgia has specific rules for dividing personal injury assets in a divorce.
Are personal injury settlements marital property in Georgia?
- If you and your spouse are Georgia residents, then your personal injury settlement is considered equal property, and both spouses have a claim to it. That means that even if you were the injured party and received compensation, your spouse may have a claim to some of it.
- What about future personal injury settlements (medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering)?
Future components of a settlement, like medical expenses or lost wages, are generally deemed separate property in Georgia, as are pain and suffering damages.
When to Consult an Attorney
If you’re heading for divorce or are in the middle of one and have concerns about how the settlement will be divided, it’s time to consult an attorney with experience in family law. The attorney can advise you about your unique situation and help you protect your rights in court.
It’s hard enough to deal with your physical injury. Adding the emotional pain of divorce only makes that more difficult. With an attorney’s help, you can avoid unnecessary stress and uncertainty about your future. Let your attorney fight for your rights and give you the legal protection you deserve.
In general, personal injury settlements are considered separate property in most cases, but there could be specific components of a settlement that will be classified as marital property. This depends largely on how the funds were used while you were married. Personal injury settlements and divorce issues can be complex, which is why it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney.
Still, Have Questions? We Can Help
If you are getting a divorce or think you may be heading in that direction, you’re already struggling with a lot of stress. The added worry of losing your personal injury settlement only makes it worse. We understand and can give you solid advice on protecting your rights and settlement. Just contact us. We’re Dozier Law.
We are here to guide you through the complex legal maze of divorce and settlements. We’ll help you come through the process with your rights protected while ensuring everyone’s marital property rights are intact.
Divorce is a trying time for everyone involved, and adding personal injury compensation in the mix only complicates matters further. At Dozier Law, our priority is making sure you keep the compensation you need to live with your injury.
We know how much you’ve suffered and want to keep money complications from making your situation worse. Factors like consortium claims can muddle your financial future. That’s where we come in. Our experience and expertise in family law can protect you and your financial future.
As part of Dozier Law’s commitment to client satisfaction, we provide in-depth support to ensure the equitable distribution of marital property. We will thoroughly examine each unique element of your case, aiming for the best outcome for all parties.
Together, let’s take the confusion out of this challenging time in your life. Trust Dozier Law to be your compass, guiding you towards a smoother and more secure conclusion. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and secure a brighter future for yourself and your loved ones.