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Do you have to divide your inheritance in a divorce? 

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2022 | Property Division

If you were given an inheritance by your parents, and you were married at the time, it can make things a bit complicated if you get divorced. What is supposed to happen to that inheritance?

Couples do not always agree. One person will claim that the money should stay with them because it was from their parents, and it clearly wasn’t supposed to be divided. The other person will claim that the money was left to both of them as a couple, and this means they should both have a portion. So how does this get sorted out?

Was the inheritance commingled?

First of all, the general way that the court looks at inheritance is that, if it has been kept separate, it typically still counts as a separate asset. In other words, the court understands that your parents did leave this money to you and that they may have wanted it to only stay with you.

But if you commingled the money with your spouse, this means you intertwined it with your other finances. Maybe you allowed your spouse to make withdrawals or make purchases using that money. Perhaps you mixed marital funds into the same account where the inheritance was kept. Once funds are comingled, or an argument could be made that they were, your soon-to-be ex may then have a claim that it should count as marital property. This could mean that you do have to divide it.

The specifics of your situation are going to make a major difference in what happens. Be sure you understand all the legal steps you’ll need to take.