Dividing Personal Injury Awards In a Divorce
Ohio Revised CodeOhio Revised Code 3105.171 (6)(a) (vi) provides that "Separate Property" means all real and personal property and any interest in real or personal property that is found by the court to be any of the following: Compensation to a spouse for the spouse's personal injury, except for loss of marital earnings and compensation for expenses paid from marital assets."
Case Law Awarding The Other Spouse A PortionIn Wheeler v. Wheeler, the appeals court found that the Trial court's award of a husband's personal injury award to his wife was proper as it was attributable to the husband lost wages as the husband contributed nothing to the household due to his injuries. In Modon v. Modon, the court found that the entire PI settlement was marital where it was paid in a joint check and accurately allocating it was impossible. The court in Everhardt v. Everhardt found that a person injury settlement is marital only to the extent lost earning and medical expenses have adversely impacted the marital estate.
Case Law Denying The Other Spouse A PortionThe court in Lewis v. Lewis found that husband's personal injury settlement was his separate property where there was no evidence presented to the trial court that any of the settlement award was for loss of consortium, lost earnings, or for reimbursement for other expenses paid from marital assets. In Harasyn v. Harasyn the court found that proceeds of an intentional tort settlement during marriage were separate property of the husband and not marital property; separate property is not rendered marital property solely by commingling, so long as separate property is traceable. The court in Marcum v. Marcum found that an award of loss of consortium is separate property.