Your Personal Injury Proceeds After a Divorce: What Happens Next?
If you suffer a personal injury, a Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer can help you to fight to obtain fair compensation for all of your losses. Personal injury cases often result in a victim receiving a substantial sum of money either though a settlement negotiated outside of court or through a court verdict. Once a victim has received this money, if the personal injury victim subsequently divorces, it's important to understand how the proceeds from personal injury claims will be divided up during the divorce process.
How are Proceeds from Personal Injury Claims Divided After a Divorce?
In the state of Colorado, equitable distribution rules apply to divide up property in a divorce. This means that the court aims to divide up assets fairly, which does not always mean dividing up assets equally.
The court considers a number of different factors in distributing assets in a divorce, including contributions made by each spouse during the marriage (homemaking is considered a contribution just as working for wages is), as well as the economic circumstances of each spouse once property is divided. The court also determines whether property is considered to be separate property or marital property, as only marital property is divided.
In Colorado, personal injury proceeds resulting from injuries that occurred during the course of the marriage are considered to be marital property because the state's Dissolution of Marriage Act establishes the presumption that all property acquired during the marriage is marital property unless it fits into one of four exceptions for property acquired by gift; property acquired in exchange for separate property; property acquired after a couple is legally separated; or property the spouses agree to treat as separate property.
Because assets acquired in a personal injury settlement are considered to be marital property, the proceeds from the injury claim must be divided just as any other equitable property is divided. This rule is generally applied even if the settlement funds have not yet been received yet, but the proceeds will be coming because a settlement offer has been accepted.
This general rule that settlement proceeds are marital property also applies even if a personal injury claim has not yet been filed but will be filed at some time in the future. In cases where a personal injury claim has not yet been filed for an injury that occurred during the marriage, the court may award each spouse a share of any future compensation obtained through a personal injury claim.
Often, serious injuries can be life-changing and can cause significant stress on relationships, so divorces after accidents are not uncommon. It is imperative to ensure that you get the money you need when you are hurt so you can support yourself and pay your medical bills after an injury-- regardless of your marital status or whether your injury claim proceeds must be divided up in divorce.
A Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer can help you to fight for full and fair compensation for all losses that an injury causes to occur. Call an attorney as soon as possible after your divorce so you can maximize your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.