Do I have to share my personal injury settlement with my ex?
You recently received a settlement for a personal injury lawsuit that has been going on for some time now. While you were waiting for the settlement to occur, you and your spouse had decided to get a divorce. Now that you won your case, your soon-to-be ex is now claiming that he/she is entitled to half that settlement. Is this true?
This can be a tricky situation, one that only an experienced divorce attorney can answer. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. This means that when you go through a divorce, there is a “fair” division of the spouses’ property. This is determined through three factors:
- The determination of what property is part of the distribution (i.e. if the property is shared or “marital” or if the property is separate)
- The value of the property
- The actual distribution of the property
Martial property is considered property that was bought or acquired during the marriage, such as your house or a car. Separate property is what you brought into the marriage, property that was inherited to only one spouse, or property that had been excluded prior to the marriage.
Since New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, it takes into account whether the personal injury case happened to one spouse or both spouses equally. So let’s say you slipped and fell in a restaurant, breaking your hip. Since this accident affected you and not your spouse, he/she would not be entitled to the settlement. However, if your spouse had been affected, say was a passenger in a car accident you were in, then you would have to share the reward. As a general rule, however, the award is considered separate property and you would not have to share it.
Are you going through a divorce? We can help! Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, PC today for a free consultation.