Is A Personal Injury Settlement Considered Marital Property In A Florida Divorce?
If you or your spouse received a personal injury settlement during your marriage and are about to go through a divorce, you may be wondering whether personal injury settlements are considered marital property. If you received the settlement, you might be wondering whether your spouse is entitled to a share of it during your divorce. On the other hand, if your spouse received the settlement, you may ask yourself if you are entitled to a share of it.
So, is a personal injury settlement secured during a marriage regarded as marital property in a Florida divorce? Generally, a personal injury settlement will not be considered a marital asset during a Florida divorce. Nevertheless, a few exceptions to this general rule exist.
In Florida, one circumstance that can result in a personal injury settlement awarded during a marriage being considered marital property is if the settlement is broken down and itemized. If a personal injury settlement award contains an itemized description of what amount is meant to cover which loss or expense, then the non-injured spouse might have a claim to a part of the settlement. An award for lost income and loss of consortium would be considered marital property and thus would be subject to division between spouses. An award for lost earnings is regarded as marital property since wages earned during a marriage are considered marital property, and a loss of income adversely affects both parties to a marriage. However, most personal injury settlements are not itemized.
Suppose a spouse receives a personal injury settlement and the settlement is not itemized, and then they deposit the funds in a joint bank account with other money shared with their spouse. Then month after month, the spouses use the money in the joint bank account to pay off marital debts such as credit card debt and mortgage. The personal injury settlement will likely be considered marital property in such a case. Commingling proceeds from a personal injury settlement with other marital funds makes it difficult, if not impossible, to tell which funds belong to the settlement and which funds are marital.
Medical Bills Were Paid Using Other Marital Funds
It can take several months before a personal injury settlement award is received after an injury occurs. Before the award is received, a couple might need to use marital funds to pay medical bills. If, during divorce, it is determined that marital funds were used to pay medical bills for the injured spouse, the court may order that a particular portion of the personal injury settlement be put into the marital estate. Then that portion would be subject to distribution.
In conclusion, it is crucial to note that if a personal injury settlement or a portion of a settlement is considered marital property, it will not necessarily be divided equally between spouses during a divorce. In Florida, marital property is distributed equitably and not equally. If justification exists, marital property may be divided unequally.
Contact an Orlando Divorce Lawyer
Division of assets in Florida divorce cases is often a complex process. Therefore, it is best that you hire a knowledgeable divorce attorney if you’re facing a Florida divorce. Our Orlando divorce lawyers at the Arwani Law Firm are here to help you. Contact us today at 407-254-0060 to schedule a consultation.