Can You Keep Your Inheritance In The Divorce?


Keeping your inheritance during a divorce is a matter you should talk about with a divorce attorney. If you are considering a divorce, speak with a Divorce lawyer in Ottawa as soon as possible rather than wait until your divorce is finished. As your inheritance is too precious to be taken away during a divorce’s property distribution, be sure you have the proper legal protections.

Can you keep your inheritance in the divorce, and how?

Money received by one spouse before marriage is considered differently from money received by both partners during the marriage after a divorce. Money received by spouses while they are married is usually regarded as joint marital property. However, money received before the wedding could be considered separate property belonging to only one spouse.

Marital property is divided in divorce by mutual consent or an equitable distribution process. The court or the couple decides which spouse receives what property from the marriage. Separate property, however, belongs solely to one spouse upon a divorce. Most importantly, inheritances can be regarded as individual or marital property. A divorce’s impact on a particular inheritance depends upon several factors, which you must discuss with your attorney.

Commingling and inheritances

You should be conscious that, in some circumstances, independent property could turn into marital property. One of these situations is commingling. Using assets that were once different properties for the benefit of your marriage is known as commingling. You may have shifted your inheritance funds to your spouse’s bank account, for example, and then utilized them to cover everyday expenditures like your mortgage. 

On the other hand, it is possible that you settled your spouse’s debt with the legacy. Whether an inheritance should be regarded as separate or marital property may be affected even if you use the legacy’s value increases (like earned interest) for improving your marriage. In a divorce, your inheritance may be considered marital property if it benefits you and your spouse, not just you.

How do you protect your inheritance?

There are some ways you can protect your inheritance after a divorce, and those are by signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. If you and your spouse file for divorce, these agreements might include wording designating certain assets as separate property. By stating your understanding of how to treat the property, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements help protect couples’ separate assets. You can use the contract as proof of your intentions if you divorce.

Contact a divorce lawyer.

If you are considering ending your marriage and have an inheritance you wish to protect, your divorce lawyer can answer every question. 

Eric Lilly
the authorEric Lilly