The division of assets can be a challenging step in the divorce process.
In general, all assets acquired during a marriage are subject to equitable division during a divorce. Even though an individual spouse may have inherited, whether or not an inheritance is subject to division is not a simple yes or no question.
Marital property or non-marital property?
All property acquired during a marriage is marital property and subject to division. In Minnesota, non-marital property is not subject to division. Non-marital property is any property that a person acquired before marriage or anything received as a gift or inheritance by one individual spouse during marriage. Inherited money is non-marital property and under most circumstances is not divided during divorce. Property purchased solely with inherited money is also non-marital property.
When does an inheritance become marital property?
There are circumstances where inherited money becomes marital property. If inherited money goes into a joint marital bank account, it becomes marital property. Using inherited money to pay marital bills makes it marital property. Commingling an inheritance with marital assets causes the inheritance to lose its non-marital status, making it subject to division in a divorce. It does not matter if an individual spouse received the inheritance before the marriage, once assets commingle, they become marital property.
There are ways to protect your inheritance from divorce, such as having it put into a trust with an independent trustee. If you have questions about how to protect your inheritance, a legal professional can determine what options are available for your situation.