Florida Divorce and Personal Injury

In a Florida divorce, only marital assets can be divided. Nonmarital assets remain the property of the individual that brought them into the marriage. If you are the beneficiary of funds from a personal injury claim that you had, then the money you get from the claim is yours, unless it has been co-mingled in a marital fund.

Personal injury claims are brought by an individual for individual injuries suffered. A spouse has a right to a claim against the same “at fault” party for what is a consortium claim, meaning the spouse is without the full benefit of his/her spouse as s/he was prior to the injuries. However, this too is an individual claim brought by the spouse.

In Florida divorces, nonmarital assets are those collected as an individual, from an inheritance or claim from outside source (personal injury). The only way the inheritance or the money from your personal injury claim are considered marital is if the money you received was placed into a joint account and/or used in the advancement of the marriage (house repairs, paying off joint debt, etc.).

If you have a pending lawsuit or injury claim at the time you are getting a divorce, it is is important to know that the money from that claim cannot be claimed by the opposing spouse. If the spouse is waiting for you to collect the money before filing for divorce, then place all of the money into a separate account so you can protect your assets.

The same is true if you have an inheritance coming to you. If you believe your spouse is waiting on your rich relative to pass away, then do not worry, the asset you inherit, unless it is in both of your names, is yours and yours alone. Again, be certain to keep it away from martial use if it is money. Items are a little easier to prove as inheritance because they may be used for decoration in the marital home, but that does not change their status as an inheritance.

If you have questions regarding any of this, it is advisable to speak with not only a family law attorney, but a personal injury attorney and/or a wills and estate planning attorney. If you are interested in divorce, know your rights.

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