Divorce and Personal Injury Settlement: Is It Marital Property In Florida?

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Pinellas Park personal injury lawyersYou stood before a Pinellas Park authority and pledged your undying love. You promised to spend your lives together, but you didn’t predict the vast changes that would come about that slowly placed a wedge between you and your spouse. Now, you are facing the reality of divorce. Undoubtedly, like so many others, this comes with many concerns, including questions about money and asset divisions.

When it comes to divorce, money and assets often become big issues. Everything must be divided, including property, vehicles, stock holdings, and, yes, even a personal injury settlement. Unfortunately, this is often a major point of contention for couples looking to end their marriage. Lives become entwined during marital years and it can be difficult to make a clean, easy division at the end. Both parties want to ascertain that they will be able to live as comfortably as possible, which can lead to big arguments, especially if there are misunderstandings regarding what is considered personal property and what is to be split as marital property.

Though you may have been the sole victim, the courts consider the families of victims to be impacted by tragic events as well. Not all cases are handled this way, however. So, if you have a personal injury settlement to be considered in your divorce, you should be aware of how your state handles such matters.

As a Pinellas resident, you are subject to Florida laws. In this state, most tort law settlements are not considered marital property. That is to say that they would go with the victim. The state does consider monies awarded for lost wages and future wages up to the date of the divorce to be marital property. Also, damages awarded for loss of consortium, which may be considered loss of companionship, would be divided between spouses.

If you were involved in a car accident five years ago and were awarded $250,000 in damages, the courts would have to decipher which of those monies were designated for lost earnings, which for medical expenses, which for pain and suffering, and so on. Very likely a portion was intended to help with wages lost between the time of the accident and the date of the award, while another portion was intended to cover lost or diminished wages in the years thereafter. From the latter, an annual amount would have to be determined and for all the years between the date of the awarded settlement and the date of the divorce, finalization would be marital property. So, if $65,000 was intended for the lost wages leading to the trial and an additional $40,000 was awarded for four years’ worth of diminished wages (the time span since the conclusion of the tort trial), then a sum of $105,000 would be divided between you and your spouse. The rest would be considered your personal assets.

The most important thing to do is to consult a divorce attorney about the damages awarded after your personal injury lawsuit. If you suspect that a divorce is likely to occur in the near future when filing a tort lawsuit, speak to your personal injury attorney about it and what that might mean for you and your awarded compensation.