Do you have to give some of your inheritance to your ex?

As you and your spouse go through a divorce, you know that you have to divide the assets that you own together. Maybe you bought a house, you have hundreds of thousands of dollars in investments, you have money in the bank and you purchased a lot of other assets together. You know that your spouse has a claim to these, just as you do, and you anticipate dividing them.

But what about your inheritance? You got money from your own parents, and you certainly consider this to be a personal asset. You don’t think that any of it should have to go to your ex. But are they going to be able to take some?

Did you share the inheritance?

If you did not share the inheritance with your spouse, and you just kept it for yourself, then it generally will remain with you. Your spouse doesn’t have a right to that money.

If you did share the inheritance, however, then you have made it into a marital asset that you both have a right to. You will have to divide it with your spouse, in most cases.

Exactly what it means to share your inheritance can be different from case to case. It could mean that you bought something together with it, such as a home. It could mean that you allowed your spouse to take money out to make purchases and they knew that they had access to that money. It could also mean that you commingled it with your other assets, mixing it into the money you already held in investments or bank accounts, and so it is impossible to distinguish one set of financial assets from the other.

A situation like this can get complicated, and you could have a significant amount of money on the line, so be sure you know about your legal rights