9/11 Award Ruled Separate Property In Divorce Case

, New York Law Journal

An injured firefighter's entire federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund award constitutes separate property for the purposes of equitable distribution, a state appeals court in Brooklyn has ruled. A panel of the Appellate Division, Second Department, found that even though economic damages are typically considered part of a marital estate, lawmakers intended for both the economic and noneconomic portions of personal injury awards to be designated separate property. "While the logic of the Equitable Distribution Law . . . suggests the conclusion that the economic portion of a personal injury award should be marital property, [the] legislative history compels the contrary result," Justice Robert A. Spolzino wrote for the unanimous panel.

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