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How a Pending Divorce Can Affect Your Personal Injury Case

divorce during a personal injury case

You recently decided to get a divorce. While you’ve mostly worked out how you’re going to handle the division of your assets and debts, now you’re wondering about your personal injury case and how your divorce will affect your settlement.

By finding out more information, you can protect yourself as much as possible when it comes to your settlement. Here are some critical details you should know.

Your Personal Injury Settlement Could Be Divided

If you receive a personal injury settlement during the divorce process, it could be divided amongst you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. It depends on the laws of your state and what the court decides.

In a community property state such as Texas, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Washington, Wisconsin, or Nevada – where assets and debts are typically divided 50/50 – there may be a higher chance you will have to hand over 50% of your settlement.

Your settlement could be either separate property or community property depending on what kinds of damages you receive. For instance, if you receive damages for pain and suffering, medical bills, or future treatment, those are personal and only apply to you. That’s your property. But if you receive damages for loss of wages or loss of consortium, then your spouse might be able to claim them as well, since they are involved.

If your personal injury case is not settled by the time your divorce proceedings end, then you still may have to pay your ex-spouse a portion of your settlement. If you try to withhold community property from your spouse, then you could end up being subject to legal charges. Plus, it could reflect poorly upon you in court and you may not get a favorable ruling.

Your Child Support and Alimony Could Be Higher

There may be a chance that you don’t need to divide your settlement with your spouse. However, since your income is going to be higher when you get a settlement, keep in mind that you could be subject to paying more in child support and alimony. 

A Prenup or Postnup Could Protect You

If you and your spouse agreed to sign a valid and legal prenup or postnup, which is done after you get married, then you might not have to give your spouse some of your settlement. It all depends on what your agreement says.

You Should Get Representation for Both Cases

It’s critical to get representation for both your divorce and your personal injury case, and for these lawyers to communicate with one another. Then, you will be as protected as possible since your representation is on the same page and looking out for you. For instance, they could help you work out what will happen if you get injured while you’re still married but you receive a settlement after your divorce has already been finalized.

It’s never a good idea to try to represent yourself when it comes to legal matters. With your divorce, you may not get what you deserve, which could potentially affect you for the rest of your life. With your personal injury case, you could end up losing out on thousands of dollars in settlement money because you negotiated with the insurance company instead of letting your lawyer handle it for you. Insurance companies are not your friend; they are known for offering very small settlements.

While a divorce lawyer is going to cost you money, the investment is well worth it. A personal injury lawyer will work for you for free and then take an agreed-upon commission only if they can get you a settlement, so nothing comes out of your pocket.

How to Prepare for a Divorce and Personal Injury Case

When preparing for a divorce, make sure your finances are in order. This means knowing your net worth by calculating all your assets and debts. Decide what assets you’re going to pursue, and which ones just aren’t worth it.

For example, you may love your home, but if the mortgage is too high and you don’t have a good job, it’s going to be a burden on you to try to keep up with payments. The more amicable your divorce, the better, so try to discuss things with your spouse before court so that the process is easier. Mediation could be an effective solution.

For your personal injury case, avoid talking to the insurance company, and instead gather all your medical records and proof of your injury/accident. This could include photographs from the scene of the accident and your injury, witness statements, medical records, and a police report. Hand everything over to your personal injury lawyer and they will pursue a settlement for you.

With the right representation on your side, you can get what you deserve in both your divorce and your personal injury case.