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Is a settlement from an injury considered marital assets that can be divided if we divorce?

Kansas City, MO |

My husband and I have been married nearly 30 years. A few years ago he was injured and received a fairly large settlement. He now receives Social Security disability for that injury and is nearly 65. The money is in CD's in both our names. If we were to divorce, would I be entitled to half the settlement as marital assets?

Attorney Answers 2


"Marital property" is ALL property acquired during the marriage except property acquired by gift (from someone other than your spouse) or by inheritance. As such, settlement proceeds from a personal injury lawsuit are generally considered marital assets subject to division by the courts. However, there is an exception if the cause of action accrued prior to the date of marriage (at which point it would likely be considered pre-marital or non-marital property).

Based on the facts as you indicated, it would seem the cause of action likely accrued after you were married, and as such the settlement proceeds would be subject to division. The fact that the CD's are in both of your names is irrelevant; the fact that the proceeds were acquired during the marriage is the operative factor here.

You would not, though, be entitled to any of his Social Security disability. As such, if he received a lump sum disability payment, and put those into CD's, you would likely not be able to receive any portion of those so long as the CD's are traceable to the disability payment.

Depending on the amount of money that is in the CD's, as well as the value of your other marital property, you may want to contact an attorney to have him or her review your situation and advise you accordingly.

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It is possible that you would be entitled to a portion of the money in the CD's. Your entitlement to share in this money is dependent on facts that aren't entirely set forth in your question. You should consult with an attorney in person who can advise you of what your rights would be in the case of a divorce -- even if you don't ultimately choose that route.

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