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Do you have to split an inheritance with your spouse in divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2021 | Divorce |

One of the biggest concerns that some people have while getting a divorce is what they’re going to do about any inheritances they received during their marriage. The assets were likely left solely to them and not to their spouse as well. However, during the divorce, that spouse may claim that they should get a portion, just as they would with any other asset.

If you’re worried about this as the original owner of the inheritance, you should know that you generally do not have to divide the money. That inheritance was given to you and the court recognizes that. It often counts as a separate asset — not a marital asset – even if you were married when you received it. Therefore, you likely will not need to divide that money with your spouse or worry about losing money that was in your family.

When could it be divided?

There are some instances in which a person can successfully obtain part of an inheritance was left to their spouse. This can happen if you commingled that inheritance. Maybe you used it to buy things together, like a house, or to make improvements to your property. Maybe you stored the money in a joint account, where it was mixed with both of your income. Maybe you actively shared it with your spouse and bought them gifts.

If you commingled an inheritance this way, then you may have made the inheritance into a marital asset. This could mean you do have to divide it. Make sure you understand all of your legal options if you’re in this situation.