We recently received a call from a spouse who filed a major personal injury lawsuit and was about to receive a major cash settlement. He was in the middle of a highly contested divorce and was very concerned about having to give his soon-to-be ex-wife any of the settlement money. The answer to his question is based entirely on when the injury happened.
The answer to this question is pretty simple. If the cause of action for any damages occurred during the marriage, then the caller would have to give half of any money received to his soon-to-be ex-wife.
This is explained in Family Code § 780, which states:
“Money and other property received or to be received by a married person in satisfaction of a judgment for damages for personal injuries, or pursuant to an agreement for the settlement or compromise of a claim for such damages, is community property if the cause of action for the damages arose during the marriage.”
On the other hand, if the cause of action for any damages occurred before or after the marriage, then the caller would not have to give any money received to his soon-to-be ex-wife. This is explained in Family Code § 781 (a), which states:
“Money or other property received or to be received by a married person in satisfaction of a judgment for damages for personal injuries, or pursuant to an agreement for the settlement or compromise of a claim for those damages, is the separate property of the injured person if the cause of action for the damages arose as follows:
(1) After the entry of a judgment of dissolution of a marriage or
legal separation of the parties.
(2) While either spouse, if he or she is the injured person, is living separate from the other spouse.
We hope that the information in this blog gives you some helpful insight into the division of assets in a divorce. If you or a loved one needs assistance with a divorce or any other type of family law matter, call the San Bernardino divorce attorneys at Wallin and Klarich today. Wallin and Klarich has a team of highly skilled, aggressive Southern California family law attorneys ready to take your call . Wallin and Klarich has been in the business of helping people with their family law matters for over 30 years and we would like to help you with yours! A qualified, experienced attorney from the firm will be able to evaluate your case when you call.
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