Personal Injury Settlements And Divorce Assets
On January 31, 2013, the Indiana Court of Appeals in the case of In Re The Marriage of Edwards and Bonilla-Vega, that a law suit that for an action that was in existence when the divorce was filed and for a settlement award had been made before the divorce is final is now an asset that the court must include in the marital pot for distribution of assets. This decision was a case of first impression in Indiana. Previously all case had held that a law suit was not a marital asset. The Court of Appeals had distinguished the prior cases as they all were cases that had not been settled or awarded as of the date of the final divorce.
This could result in divorces being delayed either in their initial filing or in the settlement of the law suit and or the divorce. An example, say one spouse has a car accident and then a divorce is filed. The non injured spouse would not want the divorce to be final until there had been a determination of award or settlement of the injured spouses case.
You should consult an attorney if you or your spouse has a cause of action including but not limited to personal injuries, worker’s compensation, employment disputes, or breach of contracts etc before filing the divorce or finalizing a divorce.