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Man arguing to exclude $20 million settlement from divorce

If and when married couples in San Antonio happen to come into a good deal of money, those assets may likely be considered marital property if they were to later divorce. Most may marry without the thought of ever divorcing or suddenly being awarded considerable wealth. Yet if both happen, and the money earned was primarily due to the work or sacrifice of one partner in particular, then he or she may argue that his or her efforts should cause such funds to be viewed as separate property. At the same time, the other partner might just as easily claim that he or she also had a hand (whether directly or indirectly) in earning the assets as well.

These are the arguments being made by both members of a soon-to-be divorced couple in Illinois. The husband was awarded a $20 million settlement from the state in 2015 for having been wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for rape and murder. While he was still in prison, he met and married a woman assisting his legal team. Now that the marriage is ending, the settlement is being considered marital property given that it was earned while the two were still together. However, the husband contends that it should be excluded from his divorce settlement due to the fact that he was imprisoned long before the couple was married. The wife, for her part, bases her claim to a portion of the money on the fact that many elements of his lawsuits were initiated during their marriage.

Successfully arguing against having perceived marital assets included in property division proceedings may be quite a challenge. One may be better served by having an experienced attorney in his or her corner before taking on such a task.

Source: The Chicago Tribune “$20 million settlement up for grabs in exonerated man’s divorce” Briscoe, Tony, Oct. 05, 2016

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