Is My Inheritance Subject to Equitable Division of Property In Divorce?

With one out of every two marriages ending in divorce, many parents fear that their hard earned assets will be subject to their children’s unfortunate dissolution of marriage. When filing for divorce, under New Jersey law, the court will look at all assets and make a determination as to the division of the property. The issue of whether an inheritance is included into the divorce mix is dependent upon the particular circumstances. Under New Jersey law, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(h), an inheritance or gift obtained either before or during the marriage can be exempt from equitable distribution. For example, if a wife receives an inheritance as a result of her father’s passing, she is not required to share the inheritance with her husband. However, to maintain this exemption, certain restrictions are necessary. Real property must be titled only in the wife’s name; the bank accounts must also be solely in her name.

The most common mistake which causes the exempt inherited property to be subject to the equitable division of assets is when the inherited spouse transmutes the asset. If an inherited house given to the wife is re-titled into both the wife and husband’s names, the court has construed this to be an inter-spousal gift and the inheritance is no longer exempt from marital property. In addition, if the inherited asset (such as cash) is deposited into a joint banking account, or used to acquire something for the marriage, it is likely to be subject to equitable distribution.

Contact Lyons & Associates to Talk With Experienced New Jersey Divorce Lawyers

At the Somerville, New Jersey, family law firm of Lyons & Associates, we use our legal experience to make the divorce process as pain-free as possible. We bring a high level of personal attention to every case we handle. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call our office at 908-575-9777.