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Your divorce and your inheritance: Who gets what?

When you think about divorce, one of your main concerns probably relates to what will happen to your marital property. Fears and confusion over property division can make a divorce much more complicated that it has to be, and it can be smart to take the time to learn about your property rights and what to expect. This is especially useful when there are complex and valuable assets at stake. 

Inheritance can be a difficult issue for two parties to effectively address in a divorce. Even if the money or assets were left for just one spouse, it is possible the other spouse benefited from it. As a result, there can be sharp disagreement over who should get what. When it is your inheritance and other assets that could be rightfully yours at stake, you will want to know how to protect your interests.

Is your inheritance marital property?

Marital property includes all assets purchased, earned or accumulated over the course of the marriage. These assets are all subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. The question you are facing is whether your inheritance should be a marital asset or if it is a separate asset.

In most cases, courts consider inheritance to be the sole property of the person who received it. This means it is not eligible for division in a divorce. However, this rule may not apply if the spouses jointly used the assets or handled the money in a certain way. 

Comingled assets? 

Comingling happens when the spouses treat the inheritance as a joint marital asset. Perhaps they used the money to buy a home, pay off joint debt or deposited it into joint savings accounts. The court may consider this comingling, and as a result, it may determine that both spouses have an equitable claim to it.

Many spouses find that an inheritance is one of the most difficult property division issues in their divorce, especially if they do not have a prenuptial agreement that specifically addresses inherited assets.

Protect your financial future

There is a lot at stake in a financially complex divorce. If you have concerns about your property rights or worry about what will happen to your inheritance, you do not have to face these challenges alone. It may be helpful to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can explain how property division works according to Utah divorce law.

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