Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


Inheritance in Divorce Settlements


Inheritance is a property that is derived by an heir from an ancestor or other person. In a marriage union, the individual inheritance of either of the spouses makes a separate property.. During a divorce settlement, the property is divided considering whether it is earned or inherited. If inherited then it is given to the person who is the legal heir of that property. Inheritance in divorce settlements causes a lot of complications since it is related to money.

Inheritance and joint property

An inheritance can be counted as a joint property under certain conditions, making the divorce settlements fairer. These conditions are:

  • A monetary inheritance received by an individual and kept in a joint bank account with his/her spouse.
  • A land or physical property inherited by a person who with his/her spouse invests in some property to increase its value.
  • Any sort of inherited property which appreciates in value over the period of the marriage.

The last condition is the most favorable one as only the value that appreciates during the course of the marriage can be divided.

Marital property

When a couple files for a divorce, the assets that have been accumulated and not inherited during their marriage are divided according to the state law. If a couple files for divorce in California, which is a community property state then the marital property is divided equally. In other parts of the United States, marital property is divided equitably.

Non-marital property

When a person receives an inheritance, it is not considered a part of the coupleís marital property. The court states that a person who is in his normal sense has the right to change his/her will at any given point of time. When a person receives an inherited property during the course of the marriage, itís his/her own wealth and cannot be shared with his/her partner.

Keep inherited money separate

If you want to keep an inheritance from being considered a marital property, it must be kept separate. For this to be done, one has to deposit the funds into oneís own bank account. If either of the spouses adds any other money inside his/her marriage, then it becomes a marital property, which could be equally divided in a divorce. Divorce law and inherited money also states that if either of the spouses uses some or all the funds received as an inheritance to pay down the marital debt or expenses, then that money becomes a marital property.

Inheritance in divorce settlements thus plays a major part when the couple thinks of filing a divorce.

Inheritance in divorce settlements thus plays a major part when the couple thinks of filing a divorce, especially women as they are generally granted money as alimony.


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