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If you get divorced, what happens to your inheritance?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Divorce And Child Custody

For many people, getting an inheritance from their parents is a path to retirement or financial security. They expect to get a substantial inheritance that can help to fund the lifestyle that they anticipate for themselves.

When getting divorced, then, someone who has a substantial inheritance already may want to know if they have to divide it with their former spouse. For instance, maybe your spouse just filed for divorce. You thought the marriage was going to last and that both of you could retire off of the inheritance that was given to you, but now your soon-to-be ex is claiming you need to split it up. Do you have to do so?

Is it a separate asset?

The big question here is whether or not the inheritance counts as a marital asset or a separate asset. If it is a marital asset, then it has to be divided. If it’s a separate asset, though, then it isn’t subject to property division.

If the inheritance was intentionally given to both of you, as a couple, that means that it starts as a marital asset. If it was only given to you, though, then it may qualify as a separate asset – even though you were already married when you received it.

If that is the case, then it’s important to consider whether or not the inheritance has been commingled. This happens when you share it with your spouse, use the money to buy shared assets or simply keep it in an account with other joint funds. If you kept your inheritance separate the entire time, it still belongs to you. But if you commingled it, then you may have to divide it with your ex.

Financial complications

This is just one way that divorce can become financially complicated. If you are ending your marriage, take the time to look into all of your legal options.