Each year, there are thousands of divorces that take place throughout the United States. Divorce inevitably results in change to virtually every aspect of an individual’s life. The impact of divorce can have an effect on one’s living arrangement, finances, parenting, and employment. Whenever a divorce takes place, there are many unintended consequences as the law tells you what property you may and may not keep. One main area of family law is equitable distribution, which governs how marital assets are divided. If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident or incident and are involved in divorce proceedings, contact Colombo Law today to determine the impact that the divorce may have on your case.
In West Virginia, a personal injury settlement may be considered marital property regardless of whether or not your loved one was injured in the accident. Generally, the court will look at the purpose of your personal injury award ,which will determine whether or not your spouse is entitled to the funds you will receive.
- If the personal injury award is paid to cover pain and suffering, this portion of the award will not be considered marital property. This principal will be applied to payments for any disability, disfigurement, or debilitation obtained.
- If the personal injury award is paid to cover out-of-pocket expenses and other losses, such as medical expenses or lost wages, the funds will be considered marital property.
- If the personal injury award is paid to cover a loss of consortium claim from an uninjured spouse, the funds will not be considered marital property.
These are general principles that the court follows. Ultimately, classification matters and the party alleging that the funds should be considered nonmarital bears the burden of proving that the funds are separate property.
While the law requires that the parties divide personal injury awards when the property is considered marital, the parties do have the opportunity to waive their right to payment. As with any other contract, an agreement waiving their ability to claim entitlement to your funds is possible so long as the agreement is validly executed and entered into voluntarily by the parties. Negotiating other parts of your divorce may entice a party to waive rights to future funds that may be obtained.
Contact Colombo Law
If you or your loved ones have questions about any aspect of a personal injury case, the attorneys at Colombo Law are your one stop for all of your needs. Our attorneys will be happy to arrange a risk-free initial consultation to determine if you or your loved one is entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Colombo Law firm is located in Morgantown, West Virginia. Colombo Law assists clients located in and around West Virginia including in Morgantown, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Kingwood, Grafton, Weston, Philippi, Buckhannon, Elkins, Parkersburg, Monongalia, Marian, Harrison, Preston, Taylor, and Lewis county.