How is an inheritance handled in a Carlsbad divorce and what do you need to know if you received an inheritance during the marriage or may expect one during the process of the divorce itself? Is an inheritance considered to be community property or a separate asset?
Let’s handle the issue of community property verses a separate asset first. Here in California, all community property is to be divided between the two parties. Property or liabilities which are determined to be “separate” from the marriage will remain the property or liability of the spouse who owns or owes that asset or debt. It is important to note that the issue of whether or not an asset or liability is community property or separate property has nothing to do with whether or not either or both parties are on title, listed on the account or identified as a borrower. Any asset or debt acquired after the date of the marriage and before the date of separation will generally be considered to be community property.
How is an inheritance handled in a Carlsbad divorce and is it going to remain the property of the recipient? Generally speaking, an inheritance received by one of the spouses during the course of the marriage is considered to be the separate property of the recipient. However, if the proceeds of the inheritance were “commingled” with marital funds the issue will become a legally and financially complex question.
For example, if the recipient established a separate account or trust and the monies were kept outside of marital accounts or use the asset is almost sure to be separate. However, if the money was deposited into jointly held accounts and used for paying bills and other expenses the “separate property” status of that money can be lost. This is also true if monies from the inheritance were used to pay down the mortgage, fix up the family home or take a vacation.
There are many factors which will determine how you will see an inheritance handled in a Carlsbad divorce and this is why it is so important to seek the experienced, proven counsel of the Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq.