Do I Have To Share My Inheritance If I Get Divorced?
Before a couple can get divorced in Florida they must first decide on how they will divide their marital assets, or the property they acquired during the course of their marriage. Generally, any asset acquired by either spouse will qualify as marital property as long as it was actually obtained after the marriage took place. There are, however, also exceptions to this rule. For instance, inheritances acquired during a marriage often remain in the sole possession of the person who inherited them. Of course, in some cases, it is also possible that a person could end up being required to split an inheritance with a former spouse.
Understanding the Equitable Distribution Standard
In Florida, couples must divide their marital property according to the equitable division standard. This means that all marital assets must be divided equitably, or fairly. What qualifies as fair, however, depends on the particular couple’s circumstances, including their incomes. Certain assets, however, including inheritances, even when acquired during a marriage aren’t divisible even upon divorce.
Inheritance as Separate Property
Whether an inheritance is classified as separate property and so as non-divisible depends partly on how that inheritance was treated during the marriage. If, for instance, the inheritance was placed in a separate bank account, then it would likely be considered separate property and remain in the sole possession of the person to whom it was originally left. If, on the other hand, the assets were placed in a joint bank account, where they were commingled with marital funds, then the inheritance would probably lose its status as a separate asset. This is also true in cases where the inheritance was used to maintain or purchase a marital asset. Fortunately, there are a few steps that people can take to avoid having to share their inheritance in the event of divorce.
How to Protect Your Inheritance
To help safeguard your inheritance, you may want to take consider the following steps:
- Depositing your inheritance in a separate account that is solely in your name;
- Avoiding the use of your inheritance for marital expenses, which could lead to it being deemed a marital asset; or
- Entering into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in which you can clearly define that the inheritance will remain separate property.
Of course, one of the best things you can do to ensure that your own inheritance doesn’t end up divisible upon divorce is to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you avoid commingling or otherwise jeopardizing your inheritance.
Call a Florida Divorce Lawyer for Help
If you received an inheritance and have questions about the fate of that property in the event of divorce, feel free to call experienced Fort Lauderdale property division lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. for help. We can help ensure that you have a much better chance of receiving a fair property settlement and that you are able to safeguard any valuable separate assets. Call us at 954-945-7591 or send us an online message to get started today.