If you are unfortunately going through a divorce, you may very well be wondering if your accident settlement will end up being considered community property and subject to division by the court.
For the most part, determining whether or not a car accident settlement is looked upon as community property all comes down to the particular type of settlement. And as you may or may not know, community property – in the eyes of the court – is looked upon as divisible if a divorce were to take place.
So, if the judge deems your car accident settlement community property, then you will potentially have to divide it with your spouse during the divorce proceedings. It all depends on how you and your lawyer negotiate the terms of the dissolution of your marriage.
Accident Settlements in Relation to Community Property
In the United States, there are currently nine states looked upon as community property states. The other 41 states are considered equitable distribution states.
What is the major difference between the two?
If you have not live in a community property state, then every single asset that you own acquired during the marriage is considered divisible between both spouses, with a few exceptions determined by a judge. And in the case of a car accident settlement, if you live in a community property state, your car accident settlement money is going to be considered community property.
The Differences between Lost Wages and Pain-And-Suffering Settlements
Fortunately for accident victims that were seriously injured in a car accident, they do not have to divide any of the money that they acquired due to pain-and-suffering. The only type of accident reward subject to division is money earned for lost wages.
As an example, let’s say you live in a state where your car accident settlement is considered community property. If you were to get $25,000 as part of your lost wages settlement – and all of the money from the settlement is still in your possession – then your spouse will get $12,500 of the $25,000 in the divorce. You will only have the opportunity to keep half of the money earned, but this is only subject to lost wages and not pain-and-suffering.
Some people feel that automobile accident settlements should not be considered community property. They feel that it is unfair to those who suffered in order to get the car accident settlement to begin with. And they are 100% right and the court feels the same way since a settlement due to pain-and-suffering does not have to be split with a spouse.
Co-Mingling Assets and Injury Settlements
If an injured spouse has already added the injury settlement money to a joint account – this is considered co-mingling – than the settlement money will most likely be considered a community asset and subject to the rules of community property.
Ultimately, a judge will have to make the final decision.
How to Get Help with Car Accident Settlements during a Divorce
Are you having a hard time figuring out what to expect during your divorce settlement because of a car accident? Contact divorce lawyers immediately to get professional help.