HOW DOES A PERSONAL INJURY SETTLEMENT AFFECT AN ALIMONY ORDER?
Personal injury settlements are awarded to those after significant injuries or losses. These settlements come during a time to cover past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as loss in compensation presently or in the future. Such awards originally bring you and your family a sense of relief in a tumultuous time. However, this award can cause a great deal of contention in your family during a divorce proceeding. This award can greatly affect an equitable distribution award as well as an alimony determination. Your Orlando Divorce Attorney will be able to evaluate your settlement and ensure you are protected moving forward with your divorce.
The first step in considering the effect of this award on your divorce is to make the crucial distinction as marital or nonmarital property and how such is divided in the equitable distribution process. Generally, personal injury settlements are considered separate property. Therefore, the award will be given solely to the injure spouse who was granted this settlement. However, this presumption may be overcome under certain circumstances. One being, if the settlement included an itemization of each damage and the amount awarded to each category. If the itemization includes loss of wages during the time of the marriage, this amount of wages that would have been received during the time of the marriage is considered marital property and will be subject to equitable distribution. Further, if there is itemization regarding loss of consortium, this will likely be awarded to the non injured spouse as this damage award is directly related to loss of companionship between the couple. Finally, if the settlement award was comingled with marital funds, these funds are no longer separate and will be considered marital property subject to distribution.
After the equitable distribution, the court then determines a need for alimony, and the respective ability to pay. When determining an alimony award, the court considers the need and ability to pay. However, they will also delve deeper into numerous factors to determine the amount and proper alimony qualifications. In the state of Florida, personal injury settlements can cover damages such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, past medical expenses, anticipated future medical expenses, loss of earnings in past and future, property damage and loss of consortium. With the numerous different damages awarded in an injury settlement, these awards could directly correlate to alimony award factors. Some of the alimony award factors include: age, physical and emotional condition of the spouse, financial resources of each party, both marital assets, non marital assets, earning capacities, and all sources of income of available. These factors can directly correlate to your settlement award in many ways.
The physical and emotional condition of a spouse can directly relate to the accident that resulted in your injury settlement. Your prognosis, severity of injury, and permanency of the effects of the injury can greatly hinder you emotional and physical ability to become financially independent and further lessen your earning capacity. However, a property settlement may also compensate an injured individual for their loss of income in the future, negating their inability to earn income presently. Further, if your settlement was considered nonmarital in the equitable distribution process and you were awarded the sum of this settlement, this will greatly impact your financial income and resources. It is important to discuss the personal injury settlement award granted to you or your spouse during your marriage with your Orlando Divorce Attorney. They will be able to review these awards and correlate the award to your financial status going forward in regards to alimony.
After a personal injury settlement, there are many financial questions and difficulties to overcome. Adding in a pending divorce can complicate these situations even further. If you are entering a divorce after a personal injury settlement award, discuss these concerns, regarding your financial future with your Orlando Divorce Attorney. They are well versed in these settlements and will be able to fight to protect your rights and your financial stability moving forward.Speaking to an attorney at our Orlando office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team toda