If I am going to receive worker’s compensation through litigation, does my wife have any legal right to that?

My wife and I are probably getting a divorce. I have been involved in a workers comp case for about a year and I’m about to receive payments. I was wondering if she has any legal right to that money.

Asked on September 8, 2011 under Family Law, Wisconsin


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The characterization of workers comp payments seems to follow the line of personal injury awards and structured settlements in general but the law varies from state to state.  It appears that in Wisconsin as a general rule, assets and debts acquired by either party before and during the marriage are divisible upon divorce (i.e., they are marital property).  But under the applicable case law, it is presumed that a person awarded personal injury settlement funds is entitled to the entire amount recovered for loss of bodily function, future earnings, and pain and suffering, unless there is a clear intention that the separate property become marital property, such as depositing it in a joint checking account.  Good luck.

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