Who gets the personal injury settlement in divorce?

Divorce and injury, unfortunately, are sometimes linked. If you have ever been involved in a situation like this, or if you have witnessed one, then you know that injuries, loss of employment and reduced income often put a strain on a marriage. 

Injuries in North Carolina could also add additional strain to the process of divorce, namely by raising the question of who is entitled to workers' compensation payments or personal injury settlements during property division. Please read on for a brief discussion of this topic.

Similar to many other conflicts in family law, the court would probably not take an automatic position on one side or the other. This means that, if you were the injured spouse in a divorce case, the court would probably make some key considerations before allowing you to keep your entire settlement.

As explained on FindLaw, North Carolina divorce courts typically classify your property into three categories during divorce:

  • Separate property
  • Divisible property
  • Marital property

If an asset falls into the "divisible" or "marital" categories, the court is likely to divide it in an equitable manner. However, there could be an added level of subtlety when it comes to your injury settlements.

One of the most important considerations is whether the injured spouse received the awards before or after separation. This would probably not automatically determine which of you has a right to the money, but it could modify the discussion significantly.

As you can see, this subject is complex. Although most divorces do not go to trial, you should still be aware of the potential presumptions of the court. Negotiating with this knowledge could help you strengthen your position, should you end up in court. It should also help you get everything you deserve out of your final divorce agreement.

As a final note, please do not use general information, such as this article, in place of specific legal advice. Your case deserves individual attention. Please contact our office today for further information.

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