After my daughter was born, my wife (at the time) suffered a major blood clot due to hospital negligence. We filed a malpractice lawsuit. 2 years later, we got divorced. Now, a year after our divorce was finalized, my ex-wife called me and told me that she received the settlement and wants me to meet her at the bank because I have to sign it.
Because we filed the lawsuit before our divorce, am I entitled to half of it? I don't understand why I would need to sign the check if I was not part of the lawsuit. My ex is very manipulative and has already taken everything from me, I just want to make sure my rights before I sign anything.
I re-read our divorce papers and it does not mention anything about this lawsuit.
It should have been mentioned in the dissolution process. If not, you will get no recourse through your domestic relations judge as the court loses jurisdiction over the marital estate 30 days after entry of judgment. Sounds like both you and her were aware of this lawsuit while divorce was pending, so a motion to vacate may no go anywhere.
I'm guessing you're named on the lawsuit as well, otherwise she would have taken the money and bought a boat by now. That said, contact an attorney in your area, bring in your paperwork, and see what options you have.
If the case was mentioned in your divorce, you are entitled to whatever proceeds were ordered. If the case is not mentioned, and you've been divorced for over 2 years, you will will have a very difficult time claiming an interest. Much of this will mostly depend on the disclosures which were made in the course of your divorce proceedings. Since your ex needs your signature on the proceeds check, it is likely that you are somehow financially involved in the settlement. If you have any concerns, you should consult an attorney before signing anything.
do not sign the check. go get a divorce lawyer to file a motion under 735 ilcs 5/2-1301 to reopen the divorce due to a mutual mistake of fact that an asset was omitted. do this now. the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be.
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