How Does Your Inheritance Affect Your Divorce Case?

How Does Your Inheritance Affect Your Divorce Case?

How Does Your Inheritance Affect Your Divorce Case?

by Van Den Heuvel Law Office

Property division is one of the most contested issues in a divorce. Michigan law allows only marital property to be split in a divorce, meaning non-marital or separate property is not divided but instead kept by the spouse who owns that property. Assets and debts are both considered in a divorce and are therefore divided, but they aren’t necessarily split equally. Instead, Michigan property division works according to “equitable distribution,” in which each spouse receives a portion that’s fair to him or her. 

Property division sometimes becomes very complicated, especially when determining what is considered “property.” If you’re preparing for a divorce, you likely want to know which assets will be considered marital or non-marital property. Inheritance is one type of property that is commonly brought up in a divorce case. How an inheritance will be divided depends on many factors in your individual case, so call our attorneys at Van Den Heuvel to discuss the next steps. 

When Did You Receive the Inheritance?

There are many different kinds of inheritances, such as monetary ones, physical property such as furniture or even real estate. When it’s time to determine whether an inheritance will be divided, however, our attorneys will first need to know when you received your inheritance in order to classify it. Did you receive the inheritance before the date of marriage or sometime thereafter? 

No matter what your answer is, we’ll need to ask several important follow-up questions to decide if your property will be divided in your divorce

Who Was the Inheritance Given To?

While this question may seem obvious, your attorney will need to know more about who received the inheritance if you were given the property after the date of your marriage. For instance, did your loved one clearly specify that the inheritance was only for you, or was it intended to be inherited by your family? Typically, inheritance is classified as separate property if it was received after the marriage date but given to only one spouse. 

How Was the Inheritance Used?

Even if your inheritance appears to be separate property—either because you received it prior to your marriage or it was given only to you if you inherited it after your marriage—the court still has several ways to classify the gift as marital property. 

Our attorneys will need to know the answers to the following questions: Did you commingle or combine the inheritance with any other marital property? If you did combine the property in some way, it is sometimes more difficult to split the non-marital and marital assets in the divorce process. 

Call a Michigan Divorce Attorney for Assistance

Property division is sometimes one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. You wish to protect your rightful inheritance, and in order to do so, you should discuss your concerns with a Michigan divorce attorney. Van Den Heuvel Law Office is available for a case evaluation. Contact us today to learn what to expect during the divorce property division process. 



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