When your parents passed away, they left you a significant inheritance. You are very grateful and set the money aside with the intent to retire. You weren’t ready to retire yet, but you viewed that inheritance as your plan for your financial future.
Now you and your spouse are getting a divorce. You know that you have to divide the assets that you obtained during your marriage. But does that mean you also have to divide your inheritance? You were already married when your parents left you the money. You may not think that it’s fair to have to split the money that was in your family with your ex, but is that exactly what you have to do?
It may still be separate property
This can be a complicated situation, but there is good news. Your inheritance may still be separate property if you have not shared it with your spouse or allowed them to use it or have access to it. In other words, if you just took the check and deposited it in a bank account that neither one of you has touched, then you may still be allowed to keep the entire contents of that account.
The problem comes if you have commingled those funds. This means you have allowed your spouse to use them, you have mixed them with other marital funds or you have bought joint assets that you both own. In a case like that, you cannot claim that you get to keep the entire inheritance yourself or that the assets purchased with that money are separate property.
If your divorce gets complex, make sure you know about all the legal options at your disposal.