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What happens to my inheritance during a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2019 | Firm News

Many questions pop up during divorce proceedings. Who will receive the house? What happens to my children? What should I consider before finalizing a separation? However, most people tend to push inheritances aside.

It’s critical to consider every detail before finalizing your divorce, including an inheritance. You do not want your money to go into your former spouse’s bank account.

Everything is bigger in Texas, including inheritance

It is a safe bet that most spouses do not consider splitting their inheritance during a divorce proceeding, but it’s a realistic possibility in Texas. Texan courts follow an equitable distribution, which means the judge tries to divide marital property based on what’s fair.

Equitable distribution is excellent for spouses who receive an inheritance from a parent or close relative because generally, inheritances are not considered marital property. They are usually a separate property that belongs to one specific person. But it could become marital property.

If you place an inheritance in a joint account, it becomes marital property. If you use inheritance to fund renovations on a shared property, it becomes marital property. If you give your spouse access to the inheritance, it becomes marital property. The second it becomes shared property, your spouse has the right to claim a share of the inheritance.

So how do you keep your inheritance in a divorce? You need to keep it separate from your shared finances. Do not touch the funds if you want to ensure the gift stays your money. You can also place safeguard on your inheritance by including it in a prenuptial agreement.

But your inheritance is only one piece of the puzzle. You have to fight over almost every single asset during a separation, and most spouses walk away unhappy from the results. Luckily, the right representation can help you figure out how to piece the whole puzzle together.