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Is an Inheritance Considered Marital Property During Divorce?

by | Apr 2, 2022 | Uncategorized |

Whether you inherited property or your spouse inherited property and you are now planning for a divorce in Michigan, you are likely wondering: is an inheritance considered marital property during divorce? Generally speaking, inheritances are usually classified as separate property rather than marital property under Michigan law and thus will not be divided in your divorce, but it is important to understand why and whether a specific inheritance could be an exception to the rule. Our experienced Michigan divorce lawyers can provide you with the information you need.

Inheritances are Typically Classified as Separate Property

In order to understand why inheritances are usually classified as separate rather than marital property, it is essential to understand how property is classified. In most circumstances, any assets or debts acquired before the date of the marriage will be classified as separate property, and any property acquired during the marriage as a gift from a third party or through an inheritance will generally be classified as separate property and will not be subject to distribution in your divorce.

Accordingly, regardless of whether your inheritance came prior to the date of your marriage or during your marriage, it is likely to be classified as separate property, and you will not need to worry about the property being divided according to the rules of equitable distribution. However, it is possible that a particular inheritance could be an exception. 

When an Inheritance Can be Marital Property

There are a couple of different circumstances in which an inheritance may be classified as marital property and ultimately could be divided as part of the property division portion of your divorce. First, if you receive an inheritance that is given to both you and your spouse, or in a manner that makes clear the inheritance is intended to be an asset left to the marriage. In such cases, the inheritance will be treated as other marital property and will be divided according to equitable distribution.

In some cases, a spouse who receives an inheritance might commingle that property with marital property. In other words, the inherited property might get mixed with marital property. For example, the inheritance could be deposited into a joint account, or used to put the down payment on a marital home. When property is commingled, the court will typically try to trace out the amount of separate property, but it can be difficult to do so. If you believe an inheritance could be commingled property, you should seek advice from a lawyer about how the court is likely to handle it in your divorce. 

Contact an Experienced Michigan Divorce Attorney

If you are going through a divorce or planning for divorce in Michigan and have questions about the classification or division of assets, you should seek advice from one of our Michigan divorce attorneys as soon as possible. We know how critical it is to understand how your property is likely to be divided in your divorce and what the court will determine to be equitable, and our firm can help. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins today to learn more about the divorce services we provide to clients in Michigan.