Am I entitled to half of an auto accident settlement

My wife was involved in an auto accident and is planning on a divorce after the payout. Am I entitled to half.

Asked on June 17, 2017 under Family Law, Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Typically, unless there is a legal separation agreement in effect, a spouse's rights remain the same as if they were in a stable marriage. That having been said, the general rule is that if the settlement is to compensate for injuries, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, or medical bills that do not impact on the marital estate, the settlement is considered to be separate property and therefore fully awarded to the injured spouse. However, some state courts have ruled that a personal injury settlement is marital property if: there has been a commingling assets by accepting the entire settlement in one check made payable to both parties; the compensation is for lost wages and/or medical bills that have an impact on the marital estate. Further, when there is a lower settlement amount than what would have otherwise occurred due to low policy limits or a lack of funds from the responsible party, it is withing the court's discretion to allocate a portion of the settlement to lost wages even when the settlement indicates that it is for personal injury only. At this point, you should consult directly with an OH divorce attorney as to your specific situation. Once they are able to review the details, they can best advise you further.
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