In Pa I had a Civil lawsuit started while I was married I got separated in September 2017 and just recently settled the civil lawsuit which is after the date of the separation. Is the settlement considered marital property?

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In Pa I had a Civil lawsuit started while I was married I got separated in September 2017 and just recently settled the civil lawsuit which is after the date of the separation. Is the settlement considered marital property?

Married on 05-13-2016
Separated October 2017
Settlement January 2018

Asked on January 30, 2018 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Do you have a legal separation, because unless there is a legal separation agreement in effect, your spouse's rights to a portion of your settlement remain the same as if you were in a stable marriage. However, generally 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, then the settlement is treated as separate property. In other words, it is fully awarded to the injured person. That having been said, some state courts hold that a personal injury settlement is marital property under cetain circumstances. First, if there is a commingling assets by accepting the entire settlement in one check made payable to both parties; if it is compensation for lost wages; or if they are for medical bills that have an impact on the marital estate. Additionally, if there is a lower settlement amount than what would have otherwise occurred as a result of low policy limits or a lack of funds from the responsible 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.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Do you have a legal separation, because unless there is a legal separation agreement in effect, your spouse's rights to a portion of your settlement remain the same as if you were in a stable marriage. However, generally 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, then the settlement is treated as separate property. In other words, it is fully awarded to the injured person. That having been said, some state courts hold that a personal injury settlement is marital property under cetain circumstances. First, if there is a commingling assets by accepting the entire settlement in one check made payable to both parties; if it is compensation for lost wages; or if they are for medical bills that have an impact on the marital estate. Additionally, if there is a lower settlement amount than what would have otherwise occurred as a result of low policy limits or a lack of funds from the responsible 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.


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