Is My Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Settlement Marital Property?

Is My Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Settlement Marital Property?

If a party receives a personal injury settlement or a wrongful claim settlement after the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the settlement funds are generally not considered marital assets and are considered non-marital assets to the Party receiving the funds.

However, if a portion of the funds were awarded due to past lost wages or loss of earning capacity, that is usually considered a marital asset, thus subject to equitable distribution.

Although the settlement funds are generally a non-marital asset, they can be transformed to a marital asset by comingling the funds with other marital assets (e.g. marital bank account, down payment on a house, etc).  The Party claiming that these funds are non-marital has the burden in court of proving these funds have maintained their non-marital status.  To ensure your funds are protected and maintain their non-marital status, please contact an experienced family law attorney.

Example 1

An appellate court recently decided that settlement proceeds from a wrongful termination suit were marital assets in an action for dissolution of marriage, where the Parties’ discussions of their plans for the funds, their conduct regarding the funds during the marriage, and the deposit of the funds into a joint account from which funds were expended for marital debts and purchases created a presumption that husband intended a gift to wife of a half-interest in the funds.

Example 2

Having both Parties’ names on the bank account which holds the settlement proceeds is not determinative of whether the funds are non-marital or marital.  The Party’s decision to use some of the non-marital funds to benefit the family does not transform the funds to marital assets.  The amount that the other Party withdraws for his/her use, however, will lose their non-marital character.  If marital funds were deposited into the same account that held the settlement funds, this would be further evidence of comingling, making it much more difficult to argue that the settlement proceeds are still non-marital.

What Is Florida Palimony?

What Is Florida Palimony?

Palimony: What Is It?  You’ve heard of alimony -- payments made from the higher-earning spouse to the lesser earning spouse during and after a divorce for a period of time decided by either the couple or a judge. But do you know about palimony? Here’s what unmarried...

Can I Get Reasonable Visitation with My Child?

Can I Get Reasonable Visitation with My Child?

Custodial Parent When a child’s parents separate, they will typically live with one of their parents most of the time. This parent is called the custodial parent, and the other is referred to as the noncustodial parent. If the child is old enough, they may choose with...

Do I Have Other Options Besides Divorce?

Do I Have Other Options Besides Divorce?

Your marriage is in trouble and you’re thinking about divorce.    Is that really the next best step? Divorce is time consuming, complex, and costly. You may benefit from exploring divorce alternatives, such as legal separation or mediation. Here’s what you need...

Florida Divorce Laws Explained

Florida Divorce Laws Explained

Understanding Florida Divorce Law If you are going through a separation in Florida and think that divorce proceedings will be necessary, then you will want to ensure that you have a full understanding of the process so that it goes as smoothly as possible. Florida...