Upon divorce, Florida law requires that all marital assets and property be equitably divided between the spouses. First, the court must determine which assets are considered to be marital property and which assets are separate (or non-marital) property. Generally, the courts will then start by presuming that all marital property should be divided 50/50, but may then adjust the division after carefully considering several factors. Such factors include each spouse’s financial situation, contribution to the marriage, and support of the other spouse’s pursuit of higher education or career opportunities.
If a spouse loses a loved one, they may have received an inheritance, which may include liquid assets, property, investments, titles, and more. While inheritances can have substantial financial value, they also may have significant emotional value, as well, especially in the case of family homes, businesses, heirlooms, or other meaningful property. If you receive an inheritance and are considering divorce, it is only natural that you may be concerned about the fate of the inherited money or property.
Is an Inheritance Marital or Non-Marital Property?
The answer to the above question varies from case to case. Generally speaking, an inheritance is assumed to be non-marital property, which means it is not subject to division in divorce and you will get to keep the entirety of the inherited property. However, there are two main exceptions in which an inheritance may be deemed marital property.
First, if the inheritance was written in both of your names, it will be deemed marital property even if it came from a deceased loved one on your side of the family. This is occasionally the case in longer marriages where the spouses had close relationships with their in-laws, who included the spouses’ names together in a last will and testament.
Second, your inheritance may be converted to marital property if it was “commingled” with other marital funds. To commingle is to blend non-marital and marital funds in a single account or investment, so that they can no longer be distinguished. Additionally, if you put your inherited assets toward a marital purpose, such as buying a house or paying off joint debts, the court may consider that property to be commingled and divisible upon divorce.
If your inheritance has been commingled but you still believe it should be considered non-marital property, you will have the burden of proving why the court should not divide those assets or property. In such cases, you always want to have a divorce attorney who has extensive experience handling cases involving inheritances and other complex property division issues.
Contact a Boca Raton Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation Today
Boca Raton divorce lawyer Alan R. Burton understands how important your assets—and particularly inheritances—are to you and your future. Mr. Burton knows how to fight to make sure you retain both the marital and non-marital assets you deserve in your Florida divorce case. If you are facing divorce, call our office today at (954) 229-1660 to schedule your free case evaluation as soon as possible.