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Are Accident Settlements Considered Community Property?

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Upset Couple 2 20150917 193252 1Car accidents are a fact of life, and depending on the severity of the car accident, the victims can seek damages for property damage, pain and suffering and lost future gains due to personal injury. What happens, then, if someone who receives a substantial recovery after a car accident decides to get a divorce? Is the recovery received from a personal injury considered marital property subject to equitable division?

Asset Division in Colorado

Equitable distribution does not require equality in Colorado and the parties need not be accorded equal shares of the marital estate.  In other words, the trial court is granted broad discretion in dividing marital property in an equitable or fair fashion.  Each property division action depends on the particular facts of each case.  However, there are certain marital assets that are considered separate property and those are (1) property owned prior to the marriage; (2) property acquired during the marriage by gift or inheritance and not co-mingled; and (3) property acquired during the marriage in exchange for gifted, inherited or premarital property.  A personal injury settlement for pain and suffering is marital property if the accident giving rise to the injury occurred during the marriage.  Since it is property acquired during the marriage, it is presumably marital and none of the above-listed exceptions is applicable.  Furthermore, an unliquidated personal injury claim is also considered to be marital property, but the court should consider the effect that the personal injury had on the marital estate in determining an overall equitable distribution.

Contact a Denver Asset Division Lawyer Today

Asset division is always complicated and can be contentious for a divorcing couple. Speak to a divorce lawyer to help you work your way through your marital property issues.