While going through a divorce is hard enough, suffering an injury in an accident during the process can complicate matters. If you recover a personal injury settlement in Florida, does your non-injured spouse get a portion of the award? The answer depends on the unique circumstances of your case.
Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning the court will divide marital property in a fair manner between each party. Not everything will be split down the middle, which is the case for community property states.
However, personal injury settlements are not considered marital property and not subject to property division during divorce. In general, when you recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages through a personal injury claim, you are the sole owner of that money because it is a separate asset.
Keep in mind, there are several exceptions to this rule, which include the following:
- A portion of the settlement is itemized – If an award is itemized for a specific portion which covers the injured party’s lost wages or loss of consortium, it is subject to property division in a Florida divorce. Since wages earned during the course of the marriage are deemed marital property, an injury negatively affects the couple because the injured spouse is not able to earn income.
- Commingled funds – If the personal injury settlement is deposited in a joint account with other marital funds, which are then used to pay marital expenses, this is considered commingling. Doing this can make determining which portion of the money was received through an award quite difficult.
- Marital funds used to pay medical bills – If marital funds were used to initially cover medical expenses, then the court can designate a portion of the personal injury settlement to compensate the marital estate.
Noneconomic damages are not subject to property division in a Florida divorce. This includes compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of activities.
At Mitchell & West LLC, our Miami family law and personal injury attorneys understand the complexities of property division involving personal injury awards. Whether you are the injured or non-injured spouse, we can guide you through the intricacies of Florida law to help you obtain the most favorable outcome. Let us help you protect your rights and best interests throughout the divorce process.
For more information about divorce or personal injury, contact us and schedule an appointment to discuss your case today.