In some cases, Texas couples decide that it is time to divorce even if they are waiting on an award from a personal injury or medical malpractice settlement. While it may seem like the award should be split evenly, this is not always the case. In general, the division can depend on who is entitled to receive the award and may be determined by a number of different factors unique to each case.
When an award is received, it must be determined what money can be considered separate or marital property. Some courts consider any compensation awarded to one spouse to be considered separate property. Others consider all compensation awarded during a marriage to be marital property. Still, others determine who sustained what damage and if those damages were shared. These judges often consider shared damages as marital property and damages sustained by only one of the spouses to be separate property.
Because different judges take different approaches to compensation awarded in personal injury settlements, it is recommended that those who feel that divorce could be likely should consult with a family law attorney before the award is received. They may assist with allocating certain damages as being separate or marital. Additionally, any proceeds of an award settlement should be deposited into a separate bank account until it can be determined who the award belongs to.
Property division can be a particularly difficult topic to cover should a couple begin the divorce process, especially when the assets to be divided are financial. An attorney may assist their client with protecting their personal injury settlement and other assets by providing evidence to the court that the property is considered to be separate property. Otherwise, the attorney may help to ensure that their client receives an appropriate amount of any settlement that was awarded to the ex-spouse.