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How an inheritance is affected by divorce

If one individual in a marriage comes into money through an inheritance left to him or her without mention of a spouse, what happens to that inheritance if the couple splits depends on what was done with the money? If a Connecticut couple decides to divorce and one person inherited money during the marriage, usually the inheritance in not deemed as marital property and considered to belong to the person for whom it was left. Also, any items bought with inheritance money, like a car or boat, would belong to the person who inherited the money.

There is an instance, however, when inheritance funds may be subject to equitable distribution, and that is if the funds were put into a joint account shared by the spouses, and the money is co-mingled. If this is the case, the money loses its immunity, and a court would decide how the funds should be distributed upon divorce. If one spouse inherited money prior to the marriage and the couple divorces, individual state laws would decide how the inheritance should be treated.

Co-mingling comes into play here as well. If the money is used in any way for the betterment of the marriage or to improve a marital home, the money may be considered to be dividable. If this is not the case, the money would go with the spouse who inherited it. These are the instances when a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement may be an option.

When it comes to divorce and financial issues like these, family law is very complex. It is difficult for some to understand the law, and consultation with a Connecticut family law attorney would be of great help. An attorney can explain the law in layman's terms so his or her client has a clear understanding of what will be happening. 

Source: FindLaw, "Inheritance and Divorce," accessed on Dec. 22, 2017

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