Does a husband recieve a share of wife’s class action lawsuit?

During my son’s 17 year marriage, his wife had a birth control implant that failed causing her to have a hysterectomy. She is being awarded a large settlement. Their divorce was final a few days ago. Is he entitled to a portion of the settlement?

Asked on July 9, 2017 under Family Law, Nevada

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, 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, typically if the settlement is to compensate for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, or medical bills that do not have an impact on the marital estate, the settlement is considered to be separate property and therefore is solely 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 of the asset by accepting the entire settlement in 1 check made payable to both parties; the compensation is for lost wages and/or medical bills that have an impact on the marital estate. Additionally, 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 at fault party, it is within the court's discretion to allocate a portion of the settlement roceeds to lost wages, even when the settlement indicates that it is for personal injuries. At this point, you should consult directly with a local divorce attorney as to your specific situation. Once they are able to review the details of the case, they can best advise you further.


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