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L&I claim & pension

Seattle, WA |

I'm about to go through a divorce. My wife 0f 21 years recently was granted a lifetime pension from L&I for an on the job injury. I took her to doctors, hospitals, lawyers etc. to enable her to win this claim. Would I have an interest in this claim when a divorce settlement is negotiated, if so how much?

I put up with his drinking and abuse for 14 years. I raised my kids and paid his way the majority of that 14 years. I left him in Texas and moved to washington to go back to school. He followed! Got hurt I was the only one to take care of him. so 2 years more and 5 surgeries later, I lived through his abusive pill addiction, then back to the drugs and alcohol i finaly had enough! So now I am filing for divorce he says I get nothing if i leave him is that true?

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Attorney answers 2


pensions accrued during the marriage are community property. Upon divorce, each spouse has a claim to an equitable share of the pension from date of marriage or maybe earlier to date of separation.

compensation for the lifetime injury is trickier. Normally, the court will reason that the personal suffering of the spouse is the separate property of the spouse. However, the portion of the pain and suffering payment that is replacing money the spouuse would have earned by going to work is prob. community and you would probably be entitled to your community share of that portion up until the day of seperation. after that, you probably wouldn't be entitled to any of it.

also, the court could give you some of your spouse's separate property if it felt that was equitable.


How much of an interest you may have cannot be answered based on your brief post. You likely should consult with an attorney who can review your facts and give you an informed opinion.

You may want to review the cases below to see whether they are applicable to your case.

Unpublished cases generally may not be cited as precedence. However, the cases cited within the unpublished case likely are still good law. From an unpublished case (IN RE MARRIAGE OF JAMESON, 21865-1-III (Wash.App. 4-29-2004)):

When disability benefits replace future compensation, for example postdissolution wages, the benefits are not distributable at a dissolution trial. This is because future compensation is not before the trial court at dissolution; thus, when disability benefits replace such compensation, these benefits are treated in the same fashion. In re Marriage of Perkins, 107 Wn. App. 313, 317, 26 P.3d 989 (2001) (citing In re Marriage of Brewer, 137 Wn.2d 756, 767-69, 976 P.2d 102 (1999)).

On the other hand, when disability benefits replace compensation earned but deferred during marriage, for example, retirement benefits, these benefits are distributable at a dissolution trial. Perkins, 107 Wn. App. at 317. `If . . . a party would be receiving retirement benefits but for a disability, so that disability benefits are effectively supplanting retirement benefits, the disability payments are a divisible asset to the extent they are replacing retirement benefits.' In re Marriage of Geigle, 83 Wn. App. 23, 31, 920 P.2d 251 (1996).

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