When it comes to a divorce with significant assets, one of those assets may include a personal injury settlement. Although the award may be meant for the injured spouse, all assets and property accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property. So how is a personal injury award divided in a Nevada divorce?
If the injured spouse obtained the personal injury settlement before entering the marriage, the court will treat the funds as separate property. However, if the award amount was commingled with the marital property during the marriage, then the money becomes marital property.
If the injured spouse obtained the personal injury settlement during the marriage, how it’s divided depends on the name(s) on the award and which amounts address which specific damages. Yet, if a couple files a joint lawsuit, who recovers the funds depends on how the funds are classified in the award.
For instance, damages for pain and suffering—as well as damages for the loss or use of a body function—only belong to the injured spouse. On the other hand, reimbursement for medical bills is considered community property because martial funds were spent on the initial expenses prior to reaching a settlement.
Although there isn’t’ a state law regarding lost wages, income earned during a marriage is considered marital property, so the court may view compensation for lost income as marital property as well.
Keep in mind, personal injury settlements can affect other divorce issues. For example, if one spouse recently suffered the injury which affects his/her ability to work in the present and future, the court will take the current health and earning capacity of the injured spouse into consideration when determining alimony and child support.
Whether you suffered a personal injury before or during your divorce, it is imperative to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side to guide you through the complexities of both cases with your best interests in mind. Contact our Henderson divorce attorney at Ford & Friedman and schedule a consultation today.