What Happens To Inherited Wealth In A Divorce?
It is hard to imagine this when you are living paycheck to paycheck, but the more money you have, the more complicated your divorce is. To be sure, it is no fun to go to family court because your ex-spouse has fallen behind on court-ordered child support payments, especially when your ex genuinely cannot pay and wants the court to reduce the child support amount. When you and your spouse have enough money to fight over, however, divorce can turn even more bitter, and it is easy to see your spouse as a stingy or greedy person. It is especially easy to see your spouse as a gold digger if you have inherited assets before or during the marriage. Understanding the laws about separate and marital property is not a perfect way to prevent conflict about division of property, but it can help you get a clear idea of what is rightfully yours, so you can persuade the court to uphold your rights. To find out more, contact a Birmingham property division lawyer.
Inherited Assets Are Separate Property, Except When They Aren’t
In a divorce, you and your spouse must divide all your marital property. Alabama is an equitable distribution state, so you do not have to divide it equally; rather, each couple decides on a case-by-case basis the fairest way to divide the marital assets. Marital assets include all income earned and all assets purchased during the marriage, regardless of who earned how much. Anything you have owned since the morning of your wedding day or earlier is your separate asset.
Inherited assets are separate property, whether you inherited them before or after you married your spouse. Your spouse may be able to persuade the court to classify your inherited property as marital, though, depending on how you use it. For example, if you inherit money and then deposit it in a joint bank account that you share with your spouse or use it to buy a house where you and your spouse and children live together, your spouse can easily make the case that the court should consider the money or the house a marital asset.
How to Prevent Conflicts Over Inherited Property
People who own substantial inherited assets before marriage often sign prenuptial agreements. Contrary to the stereotype of rich, old men pressuring their young brides to sign away their right to alimony, most prenups simply state that a certain bank account, real estate property, or business interest is separate property, and any appreciation in its value shall remain separate property. If you inherited the property during your marriage, especially if the inheritance was unexpected, you can also sign a postnuptial agreement to the same effect.
Contact Peeples Law About Disputes Over Inherited Property
Inherited assets are theoretically separate property, but things are not always so simple. A Birmingham family law attorney can help you resolve conflicts over which assets are separate and which ones are marital. Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.