Articles Tagged with Division of Property and Assets

In a division of property and assets case captioned Roth v. Roth the parties were married for twenty-nine years.  The Former Husband was seventy-four, and the Former Wife was fifty-eight.  Both had high school educations, and both worked in the automotive industry.  The Former Husband was in a car accident and suffered injuries.  The parties filed a personal injury lawsuit and received a settlement award of $28,154.00.  On the day before the Former Wife left the marital home, she withdrew $13,000.00 from the settlement funds.

The Former Wife testified that she used the portion of the settlement funds that she withdrew to pay for her attorney’s fees and to pay for her living expenses.  The Husband testified that he used a portion of the settlement proceeds to pay for his living expenses and expenses related to the parties’ home.

The trial court included the settlement proceeds in its division of property and assets in this case.  The Former Wife argued that the trial court erred when it included these funds in the Court’s equitable distribution because the funds did not exist at the time of the trial.  The Florida Court of Appeal agreed with the Former Wife’s position, and stated that ordinarily it is a mistake for a trial court to include assets in an equitable distribution scheme that no longer exist.

In a division of property and assets case captioned Roth v. Roth the Wife appealed the Final Judgment of divorce.  The parties were married for twenty-nine years.  At the time of the hearing, the Wife was fifty-eight and the Husband was seventy-four.  Both of the parties worked in the automotive industry.  The Husband was the primary income earner during the marriage.  The Wife was a stay-at-home parent after the parties’ son was born, and returned to the workforce when their son was in high school.

During the marriage, the Husband was in a car accident and suffered injuries.  The Husband and Wife filed suit and recovered $28,154.64.  The Wife withdrew approximately $13,000.00 of the settlement proceeds the day before she left the parties’ marital home. The Wife testified that she used these funds to pay for her attorney’s fees and her living expenses.   The Husband testified that he needed to use these funds to have an operation for an injury to his neck, because he could not afford it otherwise.

The Florida Court of Appeal ruled that in a personal injury case, a damage award is distributed in the following manner.  First, payments for pain and suffering, disability, loss of consortium, and loss of ability to lead a normal life are considered to be nonmarital property.  Payments for these loses belonged exclusively to the Husband.  Second, economic damages which will occur subsequent to the termination of the marriage, including lost future wages and future medical expenses are considered to be nonmarital and belong exclusively to the Husband.

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