Divorce is complicated. So is a personal injury lawsuit. When a person is going through both of those at the same time, the situation can be overwhelming. When someone is going through a divorce in South Carolina, all marital assets have to be equitably distributed. This means that the property will be split between the spouses in a way that is fair, though not necessarily 50/50. A personal injury lawsuit settlement could be affected by the divorce.
Will the settlement need to be split?
If a personal injury lawsuit settlement comes through a divorce is finalized, any economic damages awarded will be considered marital property. That means that it will be divided equitably between the two spouses. Economic damages are those awarded for things like medical bills, lost income, and benefits, travel expenses, etc.
However, if a personal injury settlement involved non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, they will not need to be divided equitably. In these cases, the damages are meant for the person who actually suffers from the injury. The caveat to that is if the non-economic damages are used on any of the marital assets before a divorce is finalized. For example, if pain and suffering damages are used to pay a mortgage or car payment bill, these funds become commingled with marital assets and are subject to equitable distribution.
Other concerns to be aware of
In many personal injury cases, spouses provide excellent witnesses to testify on behalf of how the injury has affected the victim. While a divorce is ongoing, a spouse may not make the best witness. In fact, they could end up making the case worse.
When you are going through a divorce situation like this, contact a skilled lawyer who can guide you through the process. At the Elliott Frazier Law Firm, our Greenville divorce attorneys will offer a consultation of your case today so we can plan your next steps forward together.