In Arvada and across Colorado, the general rule of thumb when it comes to divorce and property division is that everything must be divided in an equitable fashion. There are many factors that determine what ‘equitable’ means. The court considers things like the financial situation of each spouse, child custody, and the value of marital and individual property. Anything that is obtained during the marriage is generally considered marital property. There are some exceptions, though, and an inheritance may be one of them.
Separate or Individual Property in a Wheat Ridge Divorce
Individual property is any property that belonged to an individual before or during the marriage. Usually, everything that is acquired during the marriage is considered martial property – but an inheritance is an exception to that rule. If you received an inheritance during your marriage, it usually would not be considered a marital asset and therefore not eligible for division among the parties. It’s important that you handle your inheritance well, because there are decisions you can make with your inheritance that can label it as marital property.
When an Inheritance is Considered Marital Property in Jefferson County
There are certain things that a person can do which can change the inheritance from separate to marital property. Combining your inheritance with the rest of your assets can muddy the water. For example, if you deposit your inheritance into a joint account and both spouse have access to and use the money, then the inheritance can be considered comingled. This can mean that the inheritance is divisible and no longer exempt. There can also be an issue if the inheritance funds are used to purchase the marital home or any other joint purchase.
How to Protect Your Inheritance in a Golden Divorce
While it may be too late, the best way to protect your inheritance is through a prenuptial agreement. If you are coming into a marriage with a significant inheritance, it is worth your while to broach the prenup conversation. Another way is to make sure you keep your inheritance in a separate bank account. Make sure you are keeping it in an individual and not a joint account. If you have already comingled your inheritance, you may be able to prove to the court that you did not mean to share the inheritance. It’s an uphill battle, but if you have solid proof to establish that you did not intend to share the money, the court may deem it not marital property.