Is My Spouse Entitled to My Inheritance in a Florida Divorce?
If your marriage is headed for divorce, you probably want to protect your inheritance so that your spouse does not claim an ownership interest in the inherited assets or property.
But is a spouse entitled to a share of their spouse’s inheritance in a Florida divorce? That depends on how inheritance was handled in the course of the marriage.
If you wish to protect your inheritance from your spouse during a divorce, contact our Orlando property division attorneys at Arwani Law Firm to ensure that your spouse does not get what’s rightfully yours.
Is inheritance marital or separate property in Florida?
Under Section 61.075, Florida Statutes, assets acquired separately by either spouse by non-interspousal gift, inheritance, bequest, devise (a last will and testament), or descent (hereditary succession) are considered non-marital or separate assets.
In Florida, separate property is not subject to equitable distribution. While inheritance acquired during the marriage is generally classified as “separate property” under Florida law, it may become marital property when commingled with marital assets.
In addition to dividing marital property in an equitable manner during a divorce, courts will also determine whether spouses’ non-marital assets were commingled with marital assets.
For example, let’s imagine that a husband inherited $100,000 in cash from their relative through a will. The inheritance was then placed in the husband’s separate bank account. If the husband did not withdraw funds from that bank account during the marriage and did not mix it with the couple’s marital funds, his wife will not be entitled to the inheritance in the event of divorce.
If, however, an inheritance was commingled with the marital assets, it would lose its status of “separate property,” and the wife would be entitled to a share of those assets.
How inheritance can become marital property in a Florida divorce
As you can see, while inheritance is generally classified as separate property in the event of a divorce, it could lose its status if the spouse who received the inheritance mixed it with marital assets.
Thus, when separate assets, including inheritance and gifts, are commingled with marital assets, they can be subject to equitable distribution under the Florida law. Also, inheritance or other separate property can become marital property when it was put into a joint bank account, or the funds were used to:
- Support the marriage;
- Pay for household expenses, including maintenance of the marital home;
- Make mortgage payments; or
- Pay for jointly owned cars.
Once your separate assets are commingled with marital assets, it can be difficult to determine the nature of the separate property in the event of a divorce. However, a skilled property division attorney in Florida may be able to help you distinguish between commingled separate and marital property to protect your inheritance from your spouse.
Contact our knowledgeable lawyers at Arwani Law Firm to help you protect assets and inheritances you acquired in the course of your marriage. Call 407-254-0060 to discuss your particular case during a free phone consultation.