Divorce and Inheritance

Divorce is a very difficult time. You and your spouse will mourn the loss of your relationship and the way you have been doing things and managing your life for years or even decades.  During the time you spent with your spouse, you have both likely accumulated significant assets that could range from furniture to real estate.  One or both of you may also have inherited assets during the marriage.  When trying to divide your property during your marriage, how inheritance will be treated is an important issue to understand.

New Jersey is an equitable distribution state.  This means that marital property will be subject to an equitable distribution during the divorce.  The court will look to a variety of factors to decide how to divide up the parties’ marital assets.  In general, most property acquired by either party during the marriage will be deemed a marital asset and will be divided in the divorce.  One major exception to this, however, is when one party receives an inheritance.

Inheritance is typically deemed to be a separate asset.  A separate asset is not subject to division in the divorce.  In other words, if you inherited real estate during your marriage, that would be separate property and your spouse would not be entitled to be awarded any portion of the property’s worth.  It is essential to note, however, that the property remaining as separate property depends largely on how the parties treat the property after it is received.  If the parties mix the inheritance with marital property, then it is possible that the property has been what is legally referred to as “commingled,” and the inheritance could now be considered marital property.  For example, if you took that same piece of real estate mentioned earlier, build a house on the property, and live there together with your spouse for years, then the court may determine that the house has changed from separate to marital property.  This would be especially likely if you were to add both spouse’s names to the title on the real estate.  If something that was inherited has been commingled and changed to marital property, then the inheritance can be divided just like any other piece of marital property.

We have extensive experience in helping our clients understand the difference between separate and marital property and how to protect their inheritance.  Contact us today for a consultation.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.

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