Is my ex entitled to my accident settlement in divorce? 30 Answers as of June 26, 2013

I was in a car accident 1 year ago and received a settlement. My ex from 2 years ago wants some of it cause we have a son together so she feels that entitles her. She left me over a year before the accident and I have given her money for our son since the day she left. Is she entitled to my accident settlement?

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
You are divorced. Your ex will not be entitled to your post-divorce property.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/5/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
The Court has the discretion to apportion between the parties the proceeds of a personal injury settlement for an injury that occurred during the marriage, but since the accident occurred after separation, you may well be able to avoid such an apportionment,inasmuch as a party'searnings after separation are separate property.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/28/2011
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
It does not appear under any legal theory that your former spouse will be entitled to any of the money from your settlement of your car accident.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/28/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
If she was your ex at the time of the accident, you owe her nothing from it.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 7/27/2011
Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law
Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
*Personal* injury is called that for a reason..it's personal. As such, your ex girlfriend has no claim to money for your pain and suffering, lost wages, or medical expense. However, if it was her car that was damaged, or if she was in it, or there are child support arrearages due and owing, a court may very well put a lien on some of those funds.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    Unless you are in arrears for child support then no she is not entitled to any portion of the settlement.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    I don't believe that your ex would be entitled to any of your accident settlement. I assume you were never married and if that is the case then she would have no claim to your settlement. And if you were married and divorced, she would not be entitled to come back after the divorce and ask for a part of that settlement. You were not clear on your facts so this is the best answer I can give. On caveat: if you were never married, she can file a child support case against you and depending on the settlement, that may or may not be relevant for the purpose of determining court-ordered child support.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Thomas Humphrey, Attorney at Law
    Thomas Humphrey, Attorney at Law | Thomas Humphrey
    No. Under Idaho law, an accident settlement is the sole and separate property of the accident victim. A spouse may have independent claims, such as loss of consortium but such claims would necessarily have to be litigated or a part of the settlement. From what you told me, you were already divorced at the time of the accident so your ex has no claim to your settlement.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Michael Edwards, Attorney at Law
    Michael Edwards, Attorney at Law | Michael Edwards
    I do not see how your "ex" has a claim to this personal injury settlement under Utah law. It sounds like she thinks you have some money, so she wants some of it. But I don't think you have anything to worry about, from a legal standpoint. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    If you are already divorced only to the extent it may change your child support obligation but she would have to go to court and ask for it based on a substantial change in your circumstances
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    If you are divorced, she is not entitled to a portion of your settlement proceeds. If you are still married but separated, the portion of the settlement that is for pain and suffering is considered your separate property.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Are you divorced now or contemplating a divorce?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    It is unlikely that your ex would be entitled to any of your accident settlement. It could make a difference whether you are still married, whether part of the settlement was for lost wages or loss of community property, rather than pain and suffering, and possibly other factors. Please see an attorney in your area to find out more about your specific circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    No. If you are divorced, she is not entitled to any settlement you received after the divorce. If you are still married, then she is entitled to share in that portion of the settlement that is lost income.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Were you married to her and/or separated from her at the date of the accident? Was there a consortium claim filed on behalf of your joint child? Depending upon your answers, I would doubt that she has any claim upon the damages you received for your personal injury, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    You would have to talk with your injury attorney and see how the settlement is structured to know if they have rights.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    If you were not married at the time of the accident and settlement, then NO, your ex is not entitled to any of the money. Even if you were married, there would most likely be very little entitlement unless she was a party to the lawsuit.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
    If you are not married to your ex, then no she is not entitled to your settlement. If you are married, then she could make a claim to the proceeds pursuant to G.L. c. 208, section 34. There are a lot of factors to consider if you were married, such as the length of marriage and contribution to the marriage, as an example of just two of the factors in section 34.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    I can't answer you because you posted opposite things in your post. You said your ex-wife wants money. But you also said she is seeking a divorce. Since we don't know which one is right, and it affects the answer, there is no way to answer you. Additional issues also may affect the answer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    First, some background on property division in a divorce. If the two of you can agree on how to divide the property, then, the two of you can divide it just about any way you want. However, if the two of you are unable to agree, then, it will be up to the court to divide the property and debts. If the court is going to divide the property, it first has to classify it. All of the property is going to be classified as your separate property, her separate property, or community property. Which of these classifications a particular piece of property falls into will depend on how and when the property was obtained. In most cases, property obtained during the marriage will be community property. Once the property is classified, how it gets divided will depend on a number of factors. Some of the factors that the court may consider are: the duration of the marriage, the ages of the parties, the health of the parties, the educational background of the parties, the employment history of the parties, and each party's future prospects. The court then has to come up with what the court believes is a fair and equitable division of all of the property using these and other factors. Now, as to your specific case: If you separated two years ago and the accident was one year ago, then, most likely, the accident settlement would be your separate property. There are also other ways that the settlement could be your separate property. For example, if the settlement was for pain and suffering, that portion of it is going to be separate. Any portion of the settlement that is for property damage might be either separate or community, depending on the nature of the property damaged. Any portion of the settlement that is for lost wages could also be separate or community, depending on when you really separated. However, even if all of the settlement is your separate property, that is still no guarantee that you will get all of it. That is because all of the property, both separate and community, is before the court in a divorce trial. This means that if the court thought invading the settlement money was necessary to reach a fair and equitable division, the court could do so.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    No Simply put, you can if you choose give her some of it for your son's benefit, but she cannot get it from a court and no judge will give it to her. The one exception, since your question is a little open ended, is if she is asking for child support to be amended (increased) based on a large settlement - that is open to the Court's determination.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You don't provide enough detail to provide a clear answer, and it isn't even clear whether you were divorced at the time of the accident and settlement. If you were already divorced when the accident occurred, there is no obvious reason why she would have any legitimate claim to the proceeds of the settlement. However, if (as your limited statement implies) the accident and the settlement occurred while you were still married, there is a presumption that the settlement proceeds (if there is anything left) is marital property. If your divorce is now completed, the question about the settlement funds should have been decided in the final orders of that case and, therefore, your ex- (if she is truly now an "ex") should not be able to claim a share now if she knew about it while the divorce was going on. If you are just now starting the divorce case (meaning you are still legally married even though you've been separated for a while) there will need to be a determination of what is left and whether it is possible to rebut the marital presumption. Figuring out if it is possible to rebut that presumption is a complicated question that requires much more information; you need to consult an attorney. Because you are obligated to pay child support for your son, the fact that you have "given her money" has no bearing on the question of whether she has a property claim to the settlement.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    If you are still married, the settlement proceeds must be dealt with as a part of the divorce. Whether the proceeds are a marital or non-marital asset, or whether they are related to lost income will help determine how they are divided in the divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    "Ex" what? If a former girlfriend than she gets nothing. An ex wife may have an argument for some of the settlement money. See a domestic relations attorney for information.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I would recommend that you retain a divorce attorney ASAP to discuss your rights and options. Conceivably, since you apparently did not obtain a divorce yet, your settlement could have some potential bearing on some of the issues, including alimony, but again, you need to retain a divorce attorney and go over all the facts. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    You don't state whether you are actually divorced or not. That makes a big difference.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Elmbrook Law Offices
    Elmbrook Law Offices | Gregory Straub
    There are a few other questions that must be asked and answered. What was the date of your divorce? What is the date of the accident? Not when she left you but when were you actually divorced. If the accident occurred before you were divorced, she may be entitled to a portion of the settlement proceeds. The child has nothing to do with the division of the settlement proceeds.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    She is not entitled to the funds themselves, but she might be entitled to a portion as child support, if it was designed as income (vs. future medical or pain and suffering)
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    Usually the proceeds from a personal injury settlement like the one you described would be awarded to that person suffering the injury. However, if your ex had a claim as part of your lawsuit or if the settlement sets out a lost wages provision, then she may be entitled to some part of the settlement. I urge you to meet with an attorney to discuss your legal options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/25/2011
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