Divorce can be a painful and emotional process, coupled with complex legal proceedings, and an unclear financial future makes the process especially stressful. It can become even more unpleasant if there is a substantial personal injury settlement hanging in the balance. It is likely that if you were awarded a settlement, protecting your money from your spouse will be important. There are a number of considerations that must be factored in when it comes to protecting your settlement.
Community property laws state that all money, property and assets that are gained during marriage are considered the property of both parties. Unless otherwise agreed upon, property is often divided between the two parties equally. Property that was owned prior to marriage is, in most cases, considered separate. It is important to remember that this can vary depending on the state you reside.
In some states, the court will choose how assets will be distributed to parties if they are unable to make an agreement, known as equitable distribution. The court will determine the contribution each spouse made to the marriage. This is also looked at in figuring out alimony. When it comes to settlement money, an attorney will be able to build a defense in order to keep it, regardless of the state you live in.
Use a Separate Account for Accident Related Expenses
When you share a bank account with your spouse, it is likely that you will have used it to pay for expenses related to the accident you received. This will include the purchase of medical equipment, medication, therapy and hospital bills. If you used a separate account for accident related expenses, it will prove that you did not use your spouse’s money to help with costs related to your accident. This will provide clear proof during the divorce that they should not be entitled to your personal injury settlement.
Personal Settlement Award
You could potentially protect yourself from sharing your settlement down the road if you put the money you were awarded into an account in your name. This will be beneficial during divorce, especially if you are in disagreement with who is entitled to the money. When you put the money into a joint account, the chance of sharing it will increase. It is implied that you never planned to share the money if you put it into an account that is yours alone.
A divorce attorney will be beneficial when it comes to the laws in your particular state. They will be able to defend you and safeguard your settlement. When choosing an attorney, look for someone who you feel you are able to work with, is reputable and has experience with personal injury settlements and divorce.
Divorcing your spouse can be a long and emotional process that can take many years to resolve. A lawyer may be helpful in devising a clear strategy that protects your personal injury settlement as you navigate through the AZ divorce laws.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hildebrand Law for their insight into divorce.