Inheritance can be a sticky subject when going through a divorce. There’s so much in question about how much things are worth and who gets what, it’s overwhelming. The longer you’ve been married the harder it becomes to recognize the difference between separate and marital assets. So where does inheritance fit in? Is it considered separate property?
No matter if the inheritance was obtained prior to or during the marriage, it is legally considered separate property. There are very few situations where a judge will grant both spouses access to one’s inheritance.
What if inheritance money was used on marital assets?
Things get tricky when inheritance money is used as payment for marital property. For example, if money from the inheritance was used to pay the mortgage, it doesn’t mean the house belongs to you. Using inheritance money on marital assets doesn’t give you ownership; both parties will be considered equal owners of property obtained during the marriage.
If inheritance is deposited into a joint bank account used by both spouses during the marriage it loses its immunity and will be considered marital property. Comingling assets blurs the lines and is much more difficult to fight in court. A judge could give both spouses a portion of the remaining inheritance if they determine the money is necessary for them to survive on.
What should you do if you’re unsure about the state of your affairs?
If you’re facing divorce and unsure about what will happen to your inheritance, contact an attorney. They will be able to offer advice, answer questions and give you a more realistic idea of what to expect.