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What will happen to my inheritance during a divorce?

| Mar 19, 2021 | Property Division |

Many people set aside funds or other assets to leave to their family members after their passing. If this happens while you are married, you may wonder if your spouse can receive any of the funds during a divorce.

While some states do subject inheritances to division amongst spouses, New Jersey laws allow the inheritor to keep those assets separate.

Marital property basics

According to FindLaw, any property you accumulate throughout your marriage is generally considered “marital property.” This includes any inheritance you receive while you are married. Instead of categorizing inheritances as separate property entirely, New Jersey law provides an exception for this type of marital property. This exception allows you to keep all your inheritance in most cases and extends to any other large gifts you receive from someone other than your spouse.

Conversely, separate property includes assets accumulated before marriage and are not generally subject to division.

Division of marital property

Any other marital property you or your spouse acquire during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution. This does not necessarily mean that the courts will divide the assets evenly, however. The courts will consider many factors and divide the assets accordingly.

The goal during equitable distribution is to leave you and your spouse on an equal footing to start your new lives. So, if you make more than your spouse does you may receive less of the assets to even things out. Some other factors that the court will take into consideration include the length of the marriage, how each partner contributes to the marriage and the living standard you both are accustomed to.