People can suffer an immense amount of emotional pain during a divorce;
however, suffering an injury caused by a negligent party can result in
physical pain. When one spouse recovers financial compensation from a
personal injury lawsuit while still married, how is the settlement treated during a divorce?
According to New York divorce law, “marital property” is subject
to equitable division. Marital property is any assets acquired through
the course of the marriage.
When it comes to personal injury awards, state law treats one spouse’s
compensation as separate property. This includes damages for medical expenses,
pain and suffering, and even punitive damages.
But such settlements also can include damages for lost wages and earning
potential. If such forms of compensation are part of the award, those
amounts will be considered as marital property and subject to equitable
For instance, if you recover a personal injury award which included $45,000
in medical expenses, $30,000 for missed time from work, and $35,000 for
pain and suffering, the court may determine the $30,000 for missed work
to be marital property and the remaining $80,000 as the injured spouse’s
separate property. The reason why this is the case is because the spouse’s
income is marital property.
If you have suffered an injury caused by a negligent party while you’re
going through a divorce, our New York City personal injury attorneys at
Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan can help you maximize your settlement
and help you make the best recovery possible from injury. We can guide
you through the complexities of the law to protect your rights and best
For more information about personal injury and divorce,
contact us and schedule a free consultation today.