7 Reasons Why You Might Have To Share Your Personal Injury Settlement in Divorce
Posted on : September 12, 2017, By: MatadorAdmin
7 Reasons Why You Might Have To Share Your Personal Injury Settlement in Divorce
In many states, the court assumes an equal property division but generally not with a personal injury settlement. It is often assumed that if you were injured and received a settlement from the insurance company, you will be entitled to all the proceeds in divorce to compensate you for your unique loss of body function as well as pain and suffering. But it is not a hard and fast rule. Here are seven reasons why the judge may order you to share that settlement.
#1 The Severity of the Injury
Although it is not always stated in cases as a factor, the severity of the injury nevertheless affects the decision. When the injury is severe (e.g. becoming a quadriplegic or severe facial scarring from burns), the injured party is far more likely to receive the entire settlement. It is very important to consult with experienced Divorce attorneys such as the Osh Kosh Divorce Attorney locals have been trusting for years!
Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
Kevin Park of Hildebrand Law was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
It normally follows if the severity is significant, the earning capacity of the injured person would also be limited, with the judge leaning heavily in favor of not sharing. But there is one case with a severe injury that included widespread burns as well as losing an eye. Because the injured party persevered to have a significant career and became the primary breadwinner, he was required to share 40% of the settlement proceeds. If the healthy spouse has no education or experience in the workforce, it is even more likely the proceeds will be shared.
#3 Length of Marriage
While none of these are absolute, the longer the marriage, the more likely it is that the settlement proceeds could be shared.
#4 Whether the Amount of the Settlement Was known at Divorce
In one of the main Wisconsin cases, the judge primarily relied on the fact that the settlement was unknown at the time of divorce. When that’s the case, it’s far more likely that the injured party will be solely entitled to any final proceeds once the final amount is negotiated. Some courts have also held that a medical malpractice claim is too speculative to be shared when the amount is unknown.
#5 Whether the Settlement Proceeds are Shared During the Marriage
Sharing Your Personal Injury Settlement in Divorce
You might think if you shared the proceeds during the marriage that you would receive at least the remaining proceeds. But that’s not always the case. If early proceeds were shared in a joint account and used for marital purposes to remodel the home or pay marital bills, the judge is slightly more likely to order you to share the remaining proceeds with the healthy spouse by saying that you had an economic partnership which could be a “special circumstance.”
#6 Agreements During the Marriage
In one case, the injury was so severe, the injured spouse received a large, structured settlement paid out over time. Because the parties had agreed that the final, annuity payment from the settlement would be used for their retirement (and the healthy spouse had almost none), the judge ordered that it be divided with 40% going to the healthy spouse.
Even in no-fault states, evidence of wrongdoing such as failing to disclose assets or income may lead to a more favorable result for the other spouse. For example, in one case, the injured spouse withdrew all the remaining settlement proceeds from their joint checking account and put them in his toolbox. All those proceeds were spent by the time of trial. Although the injury was severe, the injured spouse was ordered to share because of withdrawing and spending all the money.
If you have a question about divorce in Arizona, please call to speak to one of our experienced Scottsdale and Phoenix Arizona divorce attorneys at (480)947-4339.
Authors at Derr&Villarreal LLC provide insight into Divorce Litigation and Personal Injury Law.