Divorced Plaintiffs, Don’t Worry: Your Ex-Spouse Has No Claim to Most of Your Personal Injury Lawsuit Settlement Money

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You probably did not visit a personal injury law website in the hopes of reading about divorce law, but it might be relevant to your case.  Except for issues of child custody, deciding how to divide assets between the two halves of a divorcing couple is the most difficult thing about divorce.  Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that the guiding principle is fairness. That means that there is plenty of room for disagreement; many couples would never have decided to divorce if they could see eye to eye with their spouse about the fairest way to use the couple’s money and property.  Especially if your ex-spouse is threatening to take away as many of your assets as possible, it is natural to worry that you could see the personal injury lawsuit settlement that was awarded to you be divided. You have plenty of legal protections, though, so you probably don’t have to worry about your ex’s divorce lawyer taking away the money that your St. Louis car accident lawyer worked so hard to secure for you.

 

Illinois Regards Almost All Income as Community Property

During your personal injury case, you probably heard the terms “economic damages” and “non-economic damages.”  Once it is in your bank account, all that money is equally green, whether the court classifies it as economic or non-economic, but in a divorce, it matters which money is which.  The ruling from your personal injury case even further subdivides your compensation, beyond economic and non-economic damages, and this is important when dividing assets in a divorce.  It specifies how much money is for past and future lost income.  This is usually the part of the settlement money that the court can require you to share with your ex-spouse, if the accident happened during the marriage.  Illinois considers income earned during the marriage as marital property, regardless of who earned how much.

 

Your Pain Is Yours Alone

Some of the money awarded to you in your personal injury case is for past and future medical expenses.  Your ex-spouse has no claim to this money, because you were the one undergoing the medical treatment. If your spouse supported you financially while you were unable to work, the judge might (or might not) award him or her or a greater share of the lost income part of the settlement, but your ex cannot touch the money awarded to you for medical bills.  The same goes for money that you received in the personal injury lawsuit for pain and suffering or emotional distress. Even though your spouse might have found life after the accident stressful, the damages awarded were for your pain and suffering, not your spouse’s.

 

Contact Walton Telken Injury Attorneys About Car Accident Cases

Walton Telken Injury Attorneys represents clients injured in car accidents and other kinds of accidents.  Contact Walton Telken Injury Attorneys in the Edwardsville, Illinois area for a legal consultation and to see if your car accident injury is grounds for a lawsuit.

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