Is my wife entitled to any money from a civil settlement if I file right after the settlement?

UPDATED: Aug 6, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is my wife entitled to any money from a civil settlement if I file right after the settlement?

I am expected to receive a settlement from a workman’s comp case early next year, and plan to file for divorce right after the settlement. Is my wife entitled to anything from this personal injury case during or after the marriage? If she is, can the amount received be gifted to someone else so she cannot have access?

Asked on August 6, 2011 Tennessee


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your spouse's rights remain the same as if you were in a stable marriage (unless there is a legal separation agreement in effect at the time to the contrary).  That having been said, if a settlement is to compensate for injuries, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, or medical bills that do not have any impact on the marital estate, the settlement is separate property and should be fully awarded to the injured person. 

However, that having been said, some state courts have held that a personal injury settlement is marital property in the following situations: if there has been a commingling assets by accepting the entire settlement in 1 check made payable to both parties; if it is compensation for lost wages; and/or any if medical bills that have an impact on the marital estate.  Additionally, when there is a lower settlement amount than what would have otherwise been paid out due to low policy limits or a lack of funds from the responsible party, a court may allocate a portion of the settlement to lost wages even when the settlement indicates that it is for personal injury only.

Since the exact law on this differs from state-to-state, you should consult directly with a divorce attorney in your area.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption