If the spouse is due a settlement from an auto accident is the other spouse entitled anything from that settlement?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If the spouse is due a settlement from an auto accident is the other spouse entitled anything from that settlement?

My spouse is wants divorce before her settlement. Am I as a spouse entitled to any of this?

Asked on October 31, 2016 under Family Law, South Carolina


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unless a legal separation agreement in effect, a spouse's rights remain the same as if they were in a stable marriage. However, the general rule is that if a settlement is to compensate for injuries, pain/suffering, loss of enjoyment, or medical bills that do not have any impact on the "marital estate". then the settlement is deemed to be separate property and should be fully awarded to the injured spouse. That having been said, some courts hold that a personal injury settlement is marital property in the following situations: when there has been a commingling assets by accepting the settlement in one check if it's made payable to both parties; as compensation for lost wages; and for medical bills that impact the marital estate. Further, when there is a lower settlement amount than what would have otherwise occurred because of low policy limits or a lack of funds from the at-fault party, a court can allocate a portion of the settlement to lost wages even if the settlement indicates that it is for personal injury only.
At this point you can consult directly with a local divorce attorney as to your specific situation.

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