The end of a marriage will bring significant changes to your finances, and you may have to make significant adjustments to your lifestyle and expectations for the future. It is in your interests to protect your long-term financial well-being, which you can do by having a full understanding of your property rights. This is especially important if you were the recipient of an inheritance at some point during your marriage.
An inheritance could be the source of disputes between you and your spouse. If you received it, you probably view it as solely belonging to you. Part of the divorce process includes property division, which is the division of all marital assets. There may be disagreement over whether an item is a jointly owned inheritance or a separate asset not subject to division during your divorce.
Is it marital property or not?
In most cases, an inheritance is separate property. This means your spouse does not have a rightful claim to any of it during a divorce. However, there are specific circumstances in which it could be subject to division. A Colorado court may consider an inheritance marital property if there was a comingling of assets. If this happened at any point after you received the money, your spouse could have a claim to part of the inheritance.
Comingling of these assets may occur when one deposits the money into a joint bank account used jointly by both spouses. An inheritance may also lose its status as separate property if one uses the money for specific things that benefit both spouses, such as a home improvement project. There may be careful scrutiny of how you used the inheritance you received, and detailed financial documentation will be critical if you find yourself in a battle over keeping all of your property.
Know your rights, fight for your interests
Your future financial interests are on the line when you go through a divorce. If you received an inheritance or have other closely held assets you would like to protect, it will be critical to understand how to protect your property rights and fight for your long-term security. While it is normal to have strong feelings and emotions during this process, you will also benefit from keeping calm and making a goal of smart decisions that will set you up for success well into the future.