Divorce can be complicated. Having a pending personal injury case or settlement can add some extra steps to the process. Here’s what you need to know about divorce and personal injury cases:
All assets are marital assets
In Texas, once you get married everything that is acquired during the union is shared. When a couple gets divorced, these assets are split in half. This includes lost wages and other income from personal injury awards and settlements. But not all of the settlement will be considered community property.
What part of personal injury settlements are excluded from community property?
Almost all of a personal injury settlement is excluded from community property. The exception is wages and income. Any wages and income that you are awarded retroactively are considered community property. But if you’re awarded a sum for pain and suffering, medical reimbursement, ongoing treatment, or other damages, you will be entitled to keep that portion of your settlement.
What happens if I get divorced with a personal injury case still pending?
The most practical way to handle this is by negotiating the result as part of the divorce. While you wait for your personal injury case to be settled, you can proceed with your divorce and have your personal injury lawyer establish that your settlement will be your property. However, since personal injury settlements often fall under community property, you may need to pay out a portion of your settlement to your ex-spouse even if you’ve already divorced by the time you receive payment.
If my soon-to-be ex-spouse is involved in a personal injury case, what do I need to do?
You should consult with an attorney who specializes in this area. Your attorney will be able to explain your unique situation in full and assess what you’re entitled to under community property laws. It’s important to provide this information to your attorney before the divorce is finalized. This way if the case is still pending your lawyer will make sure there is legal documentation entitling you to the funds.
Is there any way to prevent my ex-spouse from getting my settlement?
The short answer is usually no. Legally, your ex-spouse may be entitled to a portion of your personal injury settlement under community property rules. Any attempts to withhold community property from an ex-spouse during or after divorce may be subject to legal charges. It’s best to be honest and have your attorney work with you and your ex-spouse’s attorney to come to the most amicable, law-abiding solution.
What about a personal injury case that was filed after my divorce but incurred during my marriage?
This is a particularly complex area of personal injury and divorce law. The answer may depend on how long you have been divorced and if there were financial issues that arose over your injury. If there was loss of income and the ex-spouse is entitled to that, you’ll want to consult a lawyer who can navigate through this issue for you.
Splitting assets, especially when settlements are involved, can be a time-consuming task. You may feel frustrated over how your assets are being divided, but you don’t need to stress over these issues alone. In fact, you can get answers to your legal questions right away. Call our law offices today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation.
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