If a personal injury settlement paid for our business, do I have rights to the business and the building?

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If a personal injury settlement paid for our business, do I have rights to the business and the building?

He was hurt at work 2 months before we married. 2 years later it settled out of court. We bought a building and I opened a business. Now, 2 years after that we are planing to get a divorce. Am I entitled to the assets even though they were bought with his settlement money? He returned to work and I have been the one running the business; it is in my name and EIN. I have not had a job other than self-employment since the wedding. He keeps threatening to close the business down and sell the building. I don’t have a way to pay for legal help, other than earnings from the business.

Asked on February 12, 2011 under Family Law, Louisiana

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Listen, you have a right to income from a business you own - and make no mistake: you own it with your husband - and to seek legal consultation. So do so.  Louisiana is a Community Property state, meaning that property is split as 50/50.  The courts can make a determination as to whether property is separate and/or marital.  Generally speaking PI settlements are separate unless they are co-mingled.  Is the building in both your names?  Then I would  say that there was an intent to co-mingle the funds.  If it is in his name BUT you both ran the business then there could be an issue that needs deeper consideration and some good tactical planning with an attorney.  Get help.  And maybe an injunction prohibiting him doing anything until the trial on the assets.  Good luck.


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