If I file for divorce and my wife receives an accident settlement while we are still married, amI entitled to any of it?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I file for divorce and my wife receives an accident settlement while we are still married, amI entitled to any of it?

Married 5 years; no children. She is planning on leaving and buying a new house in her name only when she gets the settlement. We now live in the house that I had when we got married. She has been off work for almost a year. I am adding her to my insurance because hers ran out. I pay all bills and have taken care of her while she recovers.

Asked on June 15, 2011 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The general rule is that unless there is a legal separation agreement in effect, your rights remain the same as if you were in a stable marriage.  However, that having been said, if the settlement is to compensate for injuries, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, or medical bills that do not have any impact on the marital estate, the settlement is separate property and should be fully awarded to the injured person. 

Note:  Some state courts have held that a personal injury settlement is marital property in the following situations: commingling assets by accepting the entire settlement in one check made payable to both spouses or compensation for lost wages/medical bills that have an impact on the marital estate; etc.

Since NY has "equitable distribution" of property, this means the property division isn't necessarily equal; it's just needs to be fair. At this point you need to consult directly with an divorce attorney in your area. 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption