My wife and I are about to file for divorce. I supported our family for 12 years. I filed for disability a little over two years ago. She now wants half of back pay, if it is approved. Is this possible?
Sorry to hear about the break up of your marriage. Please refile this question under domestic relations and remember that divorce is specific to the state you live in. I can add that if you and your wife were married for over 10 years she may be entitled to receive benefits as a divorced spouse under your SSN record when she reaches a certain age. That spouse benefit is not deducted from your monthly benefit. Good luck and sorry for your personal loss.
Social Security benefits when paid belong to the recipient according to Social Security law. Whether she would be entitled to any of the funds is a question for a state divorce attorney.
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Personal injury proceeds that represent payment for lost wages are "marital property" under Tennessee divorce law, but payments that represent compensation for pain and suffering are not- those belong to the spouse that was injured. In other words, the answer depends on what the "back pay" award represents. The wages you earned during marriage are marital property, so if this award is because you can't work, I suspect it will be considered "marital"- subject to division by the judge.
Great question. Tennessee Code Annotated 36-4-121(b)(1)(C) is the controlling statute on this issue. "Marital property" includes recovery in personal injury, workers' compensation, social security disability actions, and other similar actions for the following: wages lost during the marriage, reimbursement for medical bills incurred and paid with marital property, and property damage to marital property.
Keep in mind that the court will make an equitable division of your marital estate. It is not automatic that you will receive 50% of back pay received during the time of marriage.
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