Though the death of a family member is never easy to accept, you may have felt grateful that your loved one provided you with an inheritance as part of his or her final wishes. This inheritance may have come in handy for you over the years, but you may now have questions about whether you will retain the full amount of your remaining inheritance as you head for divorce.
Property division proceedings when ending a marriage can certainly have tricky elements. Though, in general terms, the law considers inheritances separate property, meaning not divisible during divorce, certain actions on your part could have resulted in your inheritance becoming marital property.
How could this happen?
The biggest reason that personal inheritances become marital property rather than remaining separate property is comingling. Comingling essentially means that you incorporated your inheritance with your spouse’s assets or with the household assets. This could happen by putting inherited funds into a joint bank account you share with your spouse. It could also occur if you used any of your inheritance for the benefit of the household, such as using inherited funds to make repairs or upgrades to your marital home.
If you have not comingled your inherited assets, the court will consider it separate property. As a result, you will have the ability to keep the entirety of your remaining inheritance as it will not be divisible under Colorado’s equitable distribution laws.
Can you fight splitting your inheritance?
If you suspect that the court will consider your inheritance marital property due to comingling, you may understandably wonder whether you could fight against the division. In some cases, individuals could argue that they did not intend to share their inheritances with their spouse, but as you might suspect, proving this argument is difficult. However, other options may exist.
You could have the ability to negotiate with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and offer other assets in exchange for keeping the entirety of your remaining inheritance. Of course, negotiations during property division proceedings are not always easy. It may work in your interests to enlist the help of an experienced family law attorney who could determine whether the court may consider your inheritance separate or marital property, explain your options for retaining your funds and help you negotiate as needed throughout your case.