If you’re contemplating
divorce and you anticipate an inheritance in the near future, you may be curious
to know if you’ll be expected to split that inheritance with your
soon-to-be-ex. “Is an inheritance considered marital property?”
is a question that comes up, especially when an unhappy spouse is trying
to time their divorce around an inheritance.
Florida is an equitable distribution state like most states. This means
a married couple’s marital estate is divided in a manner that is
fair and “equitable,” which does not necessarily mean “equal.”
If the couple cannot reach an agreement, the judge will have to decide
how to divide their marital property based on a number of factors, such
as the length of the marriage, each party’s income, and assets, etc.
Separate Property is Not Divided
In a Florida divorce, only marital property is divided; separate property
remains separate and is not subject to division. Marital property includes
all income and assets acquired during the marriage regardless of which
spouse earned the income or whose name is on the title. Separate property
remains separate and is not split unless there is a prenuptial or postnuptial
agreement that says otherwise.
Separate property includes assets and income acquired before the marriage,
gifts, and inheritances. So, if you were to receive an inheritance while
you’re divorce is pending, as long as it’s in your name alone,
it won’t be split in the divorce. However, to ensure that property
remains separate, you cannot commingle it with marital funds.
If you were to receive an inheritance while you were married or even after
the divorce was filed, the key is to not deposit that money into a joint
bank account and not to pay marital debt with the funds. If you deposited
it into a joint bank account that you paid your household bills with,
then you comingle the money with marital funds and it can be considered
part of the marital estate.
To keep an inheritance separate, be very careful to deposit into a bank
account with only your name on it. Also, anything you buy with separate
property is separate property. For example, if you were to deposit an
inheritance into a separate bank account and you bought yourself a car
with the inheritance money, that car would remain separate property.
Are Gifts Subject to Division in Divorce?
If you’re looking for a divorce attorney,
contact R. Gregory Colvin, LLC 24/7 to schedule an initial consultation.