Can inherited money be taken in divorce?

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Inherited money refers to financial assets, property, or wealth that an individual receives as a result of the death of a person. It is typically inherited through a will or intestacy laws. When a person passes away, their estate is distributed amongst their beneficiaries. Inherited money can come in the form of cash, real estate, investments, business interests, or other valuable possessions.

Inheritance and divorce are usually the source of disagreements when it comes to the splitting of assets. So, can inherited money be taken in divorce as part of a financial settlement?

Divorce and financial settlements are governed by family law. The primary focus is on ensuring a fair and equitable distribution of assets between the parties involved. When a couple decides to divorce, they often need to address financial matters such as the division of property, marital assets, and financial responsibilities.

Financial settlements in England and Wales are guided by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The overarching principle is to achieve a fair outcome, taking into account various factors such as the duration of the marriage, the financial contributions of each party, their future needs, and the welfare of any children.

The court encourages divorcing couples to reach amicable agreements through negotiation or mediation. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the court has the authority to make decisions on financial matters, including the division of assets and spousal maintenance.

Can inherited money be taken in divorce?

The question on whether one spouse can claim inherited money as part of a financial settlement is fairly common. In divorce proceedings, the treatment of inherited money is complex and dependent on various factors. When one spouse has received an inheritance, questions arise about whether this windfall can be included in the matrimonial pot – the pool of assets subject to division in a divorce settlement.

The nature of the inherited assets plays a crucial role. Family law in England generally recognises that inherited money, including inheritance in the form of properties or other financial resources, can be subject to division during divorce proceedings. However, the approach can differ based on specific circumstances and legal considerations.

The concept of “ring-fencing” inherited assets is a principle often considered in divorce settlements. This involves protecting inherited money from being treated as part of the standard matrimonial assets subject to division. Matrimonial assets refers to the assets accumulated by a couple during their marriage, such as joint property.

In such cases, the court might acknowledge the separate nature of the inheritance and aim to preserve it for the individual who received it.

Courts in England, when making financial orders, take into account the financial needs and future prospects of each party, including any received inheritance or foreseeable future inheritances.

The standard of living maintained during the marriage is considered, and the court aims to achieve a fair outcome, which may involve the division of inherited assets.

It’s important for individuals who have received an inheritance or anticipate one in the future to seek legal advice early on.

This can help in understanding how inherited money may factor into a divorce settlement, whether it can be ring-fenced, and how to navigate the legal complexities of protecting inherited assets in accordance with family law.

Can inherited money be kept separate during the marriage?

Yes, inherited money can be kept separate during the marriage, especially if it is not mingled with joint marital assets. Keeping inherited money in a separate account or trust and not using it for marital expenses can help in maintaining its status as separate property.

Does the timing of the inheritance affect its treatment in a divorce?

Yes, the timing of the inheritance can affect its treatment. An inheritance received early in the marriage and used for marital purposes is more likely to be considered a matrimonial asset compared to an inheritance received shortly before or during divorce proceedings.

Are there any exceptions where inherited money is automatically excluded from divorce settlements?

There are no automatic exclusions for inherited money in divorce settlements. Each case is assessed individually, considering factors like the length of the marriage, how the inheritance was used, and the financial needs of both parties.

Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements to protect inherited assets

Pre-nuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements also play a significant role in determining the fate of inherited properties and money in divorce. These legal agreements, when properly drafted and executed, can establish the parties’ intentions regarding the treatment of assets, including inheritance, in the event of a divorce.

Seeking legal advice during the creation of such agreements is crucial to ensure they align with family law principles and are more likely to be upheld by the court.

How can Expert Family Law assist?

The solicitors on our panel are often asked the question “can inherited money be taken in divorce?”

Our panel of solicitors assist with all aspects of a divorce, including the splitting of assets between parties to a divorce.

The breakdown of a marriage is never easy, and we aim to ensure the process of obtaining ancillary relief is as stress free as possible.

We ensure that the divorce solicitors on our panel have the skills and experience required to assist on your legal case.

We can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a compassionate and understanding manner.

The solicitors on our panel can assist you through the process of divorce, including the application, as well as assisting you with child arrangements, financial settlements and ancillary relief following the termination of your marriage.

Please contact us using the form at the top of the page to find out if a divorce solicitor from our panel could help on your case.

Please note we are not a firm of solicitors. We maintain a panel of trusted and regulated legal experts. If you contact us in relation to a case, we may pass your case on to a panel firm in return for a fee from our panel firms. We will never charge you for passing on your case to a panel firm.


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