Many potential clients wonder what will happen to their pending personal injury or workers’ compensation award if either he/she or their spouse files for divorce. They wonder if such an award is marital property and/or if the award will be equally divided between the parties as a result of the divorce. They wonder if the timing of the award matters, specifically whether it will be divided based upon the date that the award is received. In determining whether these type of awards are marital property, Georgia courts follow what is defined as the “analytical approach.” This means that Georgia courts will analyze the purpose of such awards as opposed to the date the award is received. Under what is defined as the “analytical approach,” Georgia courts divide the award into the following three components: (1) compensation for the injured spouse for pain and suffering, disability, and disfigurement; (2) compensation for the uninjured spouse for loss of consortium; and (3) compensation for the injured spouse for lost wages, lost earning capacity, and medical and hospital expenses. An injured spouse’s compensation for noneconomic and strictly personal loss under (1) and (3) above are considered that spouse’s separate property. The portion of the award paid to the injured spouse under (2) above as compensation for economic loss during the marriage is marital property and is therefore subject to equitable division during the divorce. In short, an injured spouse’s award is not simply divided in half during a divorce and the equitable division of such an award is not based on the timing of the receipt of the award. For further insight on how an injured spouse’s personal injury and/or workers’ compensation award will be treated in a divorce, it is highly recommended that those faced with such an issue speak with an experienced family law attorney. Contact the
Faucette Law Firm at (770) 485-6620 for additional information on the impact of
divorce on a personal injury or workers’ compensation award.