Can an Inheritance Be Divided in a Divorce?

Somerville Divorce Lawyers at Lepp, Mayrides & Eaton LLC Can Help to Protect Clients’ Inheritances During a Divorce.

New Jersey law follows the rule of equitable distribution of property in divorce, where marital property is divided based on what the Court believes to be fair. However, this applies to marital property only.

In divorce, marital property is anything that both spouses own jointly and/or that either spouse acquired during the marriage. It can include real estate, cars, retirement accounts, stocks, bank accounts, jewelry, antiques, and other valuable items. Marital property is subject to equitable distribution.

Separate property is not subject to equitable distribution and includes any tangible property or financial assets that you or your spouse acquired before the marriage and/or after the cut-off date of the marriage. The cut-off date is typically determined by the date of the filing of the Complaint for Divorce. Common examples of separate property include real estate, retirement funds, or a business in your name that was owned before getting married. An inheritance is another example of separate property.

In many cases, an inheritance is considered separate property, regardless of whether it is acquired during the marriage, so long as it is not comingled with marital assets. Itis important to understand how an inheritance can become marital property.

If you receive a substantial inheritance from a relative and deposit those funds into a separate bank account that is in your name only, it may be considered separate property. However, if you also deposit marital funds into that same bank account, the inheritance could be considered marital in nature due to the commingling of separate and marital assets. Similarly, if you deposit the inheritance into a joint bank account that you share with your spouse and those funds are used for household expenses, like mortgage payments, it may be considered marital property.

If you inherited a house or used money from an inheritance towards a down payment on a home that is in your name only, the house may become marital property if your spouse’s name is added to the title. That means that if you get a divorce, the house that you inherited may be considered marital property and therefore subject to equitable distribution.

Having an attorney represent you in your divorce is invaluable, especially if an inheritance is involved. Your attorney can help determine what is marital property and what is separate property.

Somerville Divorce Lawyers at Lepp, Mayrides & Eaton LLC Can Help to Protect Clients’ Inheritances During a Divorce

The experienced Somerville divorce lawyers at Lepp, Mayrides & Eaton, LLC, ensure their clients’ rights are protected, whether settlement is reached, or litigation is necessary. Call us at 908-800-7676 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. 

Located in Somerville, New Jersey, our attorneys serve clients throughout Central New Jersey, including those in Somerset County, Hunterdon County, Warren County, Morris County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, Union County, and Middlesex County.