There are instances wherein one of the spouses was able to acquire an inheritance from his or her family’s side. It can be in the form of money or property. Nevertheless, it is a major responsibility on your part if one of your family members pass on important family inheritance.
In some cases, an inheritance may be acquired during a person’s marriage. However, it can be a little complicated if the couple decides to divorce later on. Your soon-to-be-ex-spouse may go after your inheritance and might claim it as also his or hers. In such cases, it is better to hire family lawyers to handle your case.
Getting an inheritance during a marriage
First of all, an inheritance given to one spouse is technically treated separately within a marriage. Meaning, that inheritance is solely intended only for the spouse and the other spouse should have nothing to do with it.
On the other hand, income that is generated by one or both spouses within the marriage is considered owned by both. But if there is an impending divorce and you have an inheritance to protect, you should consult knowledgeable divorce lawyers first.
Having said that, it is important to decide before putting your money inheritance in a joint account. Otherwise, disputing your inheritance during a divorce in this kind of situation can be one of your worst nightmares. That is why technically, inheritance is considered a separate property and usually not subject to division during a divorce case.
However, this condition regarding inheritances may vary depending on the state. For one thing, there are some states that do not consider inheritances as a separate property. If you are married and want to keep your inheritance as separate property, it is better to consult experienced family lawyers regarding your concern.
What if your ex-spouse wants to claim your inheritance?
You could be in a stressful situation when you are in a process of divorce and then you have a separate family inheritance to protect. As mentioned, inheritance is generally treated as a separate rather than a joint property.
However, there may no contest if the inheritance is also named to your spouse before the divorce happened, although this may be a rare instance. This is called comingling, wherein the inheritance money is deposited in a joint account and used for various expenses during your marriage.
An inheritance may also lose its separate status if it is used to renovate your primary home or any joint properties. In other words, an inheritance will not be considered a separate property anymore if it is used for the benefit of joint assets. But if you want to contest your right to claim exclusively an inheritance, it is better to consult the best divorce lawyers and ask for legal advice.
What if you have inherited money or properties before marriage?
It is not new anymore if you or your spouse is already financially well-off prior to your marriage due to received inheritance or other instances. As already mentioned, an inheritance is considered separate property unless it is used for the benefit of joint marital assets. It won’t also be considered marital property if there is no comingling involved.
This is one reason why having a pre-nuptial agreement can help a lot in case a divorce happens. No couple thinks about getting divorce soon enough or never at all. However, a pre-nuptial agreement can also help couples state which properties are for whom and which ones are considered as jointly owned.
Technically, comingling means the inherited assets and properties will be jointly owned by both spouses. In some cases, the court may rule out that that the comingled property should stay as a separate property. For this to happen, one of the spouses should prove that the assets and properties are not meant for sharing at all.
Getting legal advice from the experts
Divorce, at most times, can take some time to be finalized. It depends on the certain terms and conditions that need to be agreed upon by both parties. For example, one of the spouses should hire spousal support lawyers to settle alimony. On the other hand, child support lawyers usually handle child custody and support cases among divorcing couples.
Inheritance can also be a major concern during a divorce. In such cases, it is best to hire top rated divorce lawyers in Alexandria VA to help you with this kind of situation. Contact one today!