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What happens to the inheritance you received if you divorce?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2019 | Firm News |

You already know that a divorce will bring significant financial changes to your life. Marital property is subject to division, and both parties will likely have to share debt accumulated over the course of the marriage. This can be a complex and difficult process, especially if there are disputes over what qualifies as marital property.

If you received an inheritance at some point while you were married, you may wonder what will happen to it when you divorce. It’s important for you to protect your property rights, including keeping inherited assets where they belong. It is in your interests to act quickly to seek guidance and learn more about whether your inheritance qualifies as marital property.

Is it a marital asset?

Separate assets are those things owned by just one spouse. These things are not marital property, and therefore, they are not eligible for division in a divorce. In most cases, an inheritance left to one spouse is separate property. This may come as a relief to you, but there are certain times when there is an exception to this rule. Consider the following:

  • If you deposited the inherited money into a joint checking account or both parties used it, a court may decide it is a marital asset.
  • Your inheritance may not be a separate asset anymore if you used the money to make improvements to your shared residence.
  • If you received an inheritance before marriage, how you used those funds once you married can impact whether it is marital property or separate. 

Generally, the comingling of inherited funds will likely mean that your soon-to-be ex-spouse could have a claim to part of these funds in a divorce settlement. How a court will rule on this matter depends on the details of your individual situation. You may find it beneficial to remember that you have the right to build a strong case if an out-of-court settlement is not possible and pursue the property division settlement you want

Focused on the future 

The goal of your property division settlement should be to secure what you need for a strong and stable future, not getting revenge or acting on temporary emotions. If you feel strongly about what will happen to inherited assets, you may want to speak with an experienced Alabama family law attorney about your goals and concerns. Before you agree to any terms or move forward with an important decision, it is smart to learn about all of the options available to you.