Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce
Are worker’s compensation benefits subject to equitable distribution in a Florida divorce? This was an issue appealed in the recent appellate case Griffin v. Griffin, 1D18-4078 (Fla. 1st DCA June 7, 2019). As with most issues in Florida family law cases, the answer is “It depends.”
Worker’s compensation usually provides wage replacement. If the wages being replaced were earned during the parties’ marriage (usually defined as the date of marriage to the date of filing for divorce), the benefits are a marital asset subject to equitable distribution in Florida. This is because income earned during the marriage is a marital asset.
In the Griffin case, the former husband appealed the trial court’s decision to classify his $72,000.00 settlement from his worker’s compensation case as a marital asset. The appellate court disagreed with him and summarily rejected his claim that the trial court abused its discretion. However, the court did note that only about $6,000 of the settlement proceeds remained at the time of trial. There was no finding by the trial court that the former husband committed misconduct in spending the settlement proceeds. Therefore, the court found it was error to assign the entire $72,000.00 to him in equitable distribution.
Florida divorce cases often involve complex issues which are best handled with a Miami divorce lawyer on your side. Schedule a consultation to determine your best options in moving forward.