When Personal Injury Claims Coincide with Divorce

One question couples in the divorce process may ask is whether or not they will have to share their personal injury award. Divorce is not an easy process. It can be long, drawn out, and emotional. When coupled with a personal injury settlement, things can be further complicated. You may be worried that you will have to share your settlement with your ex, so speaking with a divorce attorney will be important. They can help determine whether the settlement belongs to both parties and is considered part of the marital estate.

Distribution of Assets

An attorney who is well-versed in either divorce or personal injury law will be able to negotiate the laws depending on the state you reside. Division of property can vary depending on where you live.

States where all marital property (including personal injury awards) is divided equally include:

  • Idaho
  • Arizona
  • Texas
  • California
  • Louisiana
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

In other areas of the country, prior to the divorce settlement, an analysis of the case and all assets will often occur. Understanding how the laws will impact your case will help to shed some light on what you can expect. An attorney will be important in clarifying the details and supporting you through this process.

Sharing a Personal Injury Award

The laws regarding personal injury and divorce differ depending on where you live. Because of this, an attorney will be important when navigating the legal case. An attorney, like a family lawyer New York, NY trusts, will be important to assess case details if you are faced with a divorce that overlaps with a personal injury claim.

Generally speaking, there are several factors involved when determining whether or not both parties should share the award:

  • Date the divorce papers were filed or the separation occurred.
  • The circumstances around the divorce.
  • Details around when the injury was sustained:
    • Was it a workplace injury?
    • Medical malpractice?
    • Unlawful dismissal?

Equitable Marital Property Distribution

When it comes to the division of assets in a divorce, many states recognize equitable marital property distribution. Despite this, laws are different depending on where you live, especially when it deciding how a personal injury settlement will be distributed. If the injury happened while married, the court is likely to treat a portion of the personal injury settlement as property that belongs to both parties. Often the following will be considered:

  • Whether or not both spouses were involved in the accident that resulted in an injury.
  • If a prenuptial agreement was in place
  • If assets were attained during the marriage or before

In many cases, the courts will be responsible for determining how the personal injury award will be divided. The legal guidance of a divorce or personal injury attorney will prove to be helpful in ensuring that you are awarded the best settlement you can receive.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Okun, Oddo & Babat PC for their insight into family law practice.