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Could I Lose Part of My Workers’ Compensation in an Illinois Divorce? 

 Posted on December 17, 2021 in Divorce

arlington heights divorce lawyerAccidents, slips and falls, or malfunctioning equipment can seriously harm people while they are at work. When people get injured badly enough that they need medical treatment or lose wages, they often pursue workers’ compensation claims or personal injury settlements and sometimes get a significant amount of money from the party responsible for the injury. 

You may be surprised to learn that, if such an injury occurs while you are married, any compensation can be considered a marital asset - and therefore subject to division if the courts divide property in a divorce. This seems counterintuitive because there is only one spouse who is injured and therefore in need of compensation; nevertheless, Illinois law generally defines any asset obtained during the marriage, including cash settlements or ongoing payments, as a marital asset. 

Disabilities May Be a Factor in the Illinois Property Division Process 

Spouses who have received personal injury settlements or workers’ compensation payments may not have to divide these monies the same way they would divide a cash savings account. Because Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, many factors need to be taken into account to ensure the division of marital property is fair. 

Several of these factors relate to any potential disability or harm to a spouse’s future employment prospects. These include: 

  • Age

  • Health, including mental health

  • Future earning potential

  • Education

  • Disabilities that limit a spouse’s ability to work

Because large workers’ compensation settlements are often given in response to a long-term, debilitating injury, the spouse who has the injury will likely receive a greater share of overall marital property because they cannot work in the future. This can include all or most of an injury settlement. If the divorce is complete and a spouse believes the division of property was unfair or done in error, he or she can appeal the decision to an Illinois appellate court. 

Appellate courts will only overturn divorce decisions if they find that the lower court made a mistake in determining facts or applying the law. Unfortunately, many people walk away from their divorce decree feeling the terms are fundamentally unfair. Spouses are encouraged to work together to agree on a divorce settlement so these decisions are not left to a court. 

Meet with an Arlington Heights Property Division Lawyer

Determining what is marital and nonmarital property is a complex part of the divorce process that becomes much easier with the help of an experienced Arlington Heights, IL marital asset division attorney. At A. Traub & Associates, our skilled attorneys have helped many spouses achieve an equitable property settlement and we will fight hard so you get the portion of your marital property to which you are entitled. Call us today to schedule a confidential consultation at 847-749-4182




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