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Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Divorce

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Division of Property

workers compensation, allocation of property, Illinois divorce attorneyWorkers’ compensation benefits are paid to employees who get hurt on the job. These benefits are for the benefit of both the worker and his or her family. But, what happens to workers’ compensation benefits during a divorce?

Are Benefits a Marital Asset?

Workers’ compensation benefits are considered an asset under Illinois family law. If the benefits are from an accident that occurred after the couple was married, the benefits are similar to any other income and are likely to be considered a marital asset. Even if the divorce was already filed, but not yet finalized, when benefits are awarded, they will most likely be considered a marital asset.

Workers’ compensation benefits can either be paid as a series of installments or as a single lump-sum, depending on the circumstances of the case. Judges in a divorce will divide the marital assets equitably, including the proceeds from any workers’ compensation claim. This does not mean both sides get half. Instead, the judge decides what would be fair considering several different factors.

If an accident occurred before the marriage and the benefits were awarded before the marriage, the workers’ compensation benefits will most likely not be found to be a marital asset. This means that are not considered when dividing the marital property. But, they can still be considered in any support decisions.

Other Ways Workers' Compensation Benefits Can Have an Impact

Regardless of whether your workers’ compensation benefits are considered a marital asset or not, chances are good that they will impact some element of the divorce. If your spouse is awarded child support, or you have an outstanding child support balance, your obligations can be garnished directly from your benefit checks. Permanent disability payments may be taken into account in determining child support orders as well, since such payments are considered income.

Unpaid spousal maintenance or other financial awards from a divorce can also be garnished from any workers’ compensation benefits. When a judge is considering if spousal maintenance is appropriate, workers' compensation benefits should be factored as a resource, keeping in mind that some of the benefits are meant to offset incurred medical costs.

In the event that an individual is killed in a work accident during the course of a divorce, the surviving spouse will still be eligible for spousal death benefits, so long as the divorce has not yet become final. Under the law, the marriage is not dissolved until the judgment has been entered.

If you have questions about property division or any other divorce issues, you need to speak with a skilled and experienced Aurora family law attorney right away. Call the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., today at 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation. We will help you get the answers you need and assist you in understanding your available legal options.

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1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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