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How Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Treated in an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Division of Property

Kane County divorce lawyerUnder Illinois law, an employee who gets hurt on the job is usually eligible for benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation program. These benefits are intended to help both the worker and his or her family. But, what happens when a person who is receiving workers’ compensation benefits gets divorced? If you are in such a situation, the answer to this question could have a substantial effect on your divorce.

Are Benefits a Marital Asset?

You probably realize that workers’ compensation benefits are considered a type of asset. The question, however, is whether they are considered part of the marital estate or not. In general, if the accident that made you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits occurred during your marriage, the benefits are likely to be considered marital property. This may even be the case if your divorce was already in process at the time of your accident. On the other hand, if the accident occurred before your marriage or after a judgment of legal separation was entered, the benefits you have received are not as likely to be considered as property of the marital estate.

Workers’ compensation benefits can be paid out in a single lump sum or in a series of payments over time. Regardless of how you are receiving your benefits, if they are determined to be marital property, your spouse could be entitled to an equitable share of them in your divorce. Your spouse will not automatically get half, however, because Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that the court will allocate the marital property between you and your spouse in a manner that is fair and just, not necessarily equal. The law requires the court to consider many different factors when deciding on what is fair.

Other Ways Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can Affect Your Divorce

It is important to keep in mind that even if your workers’ compensation benefits are determined to be non-marital property, they are still considered part of your income. This means that they can and will be considered in any decisions regarding child support or spousal maintenance. If your spouse is awarded child support or alimony, or if you have an outstanding child support balance, those payments can be garnished from your benefit checks. Permanent disability payments may be taken into account when setting up child support orders as well.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney

If you have questions about how workers’ compensation benefits will be handled in your divorce, contact an experienced St. Charles divorce lawyer at Goostree Law Group today. Call 630-584-4800 for a free consultation and review of your case. We will work hard to ensure that your rights and best interests are fully protected.



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