Can a Child’s Inheritance be Affected by Divorce?

March 2, 2021

With divorce rates so high, many parents have legitimate concerns when their adult children get married. No parent wants to leave an inheritance to their child only to have it threatened by a disgruntled ex-spouse. However, there are some options to protect an inheritance from divorce.

When a married couple gets divorced, there is a legal process for the distribution of assets. Assets may be physical possessions, like a house or car, or they can be financial assets, like bank accounts or money. This process can be one of the more complicated aspects of divorce. Assets that are considered to be marital property are typically split, but personal property will likely not be divided.

Inheritance Assets

When a parent dies, their assets will often go to their children. The process for this depends on whether or not a will exists. When the parent leaves a will specifying where their assets will go, the process is simpler. If there is no such document, the property will go through probate, which can be a long and difficult process. It becomes more complicated when there is more than one living family member who may claim assets. It can become even more challenging when issues of marriage and divorce come into play.

Is an Inheritance Considered Marital Property?

Typically, an inheritance that is willed to an individual is considered that person’s property and does not fall under marital property rules; however, there are exceptions. While an inheritance is not marital property, if it is mixed with marital property, the rules may change. For example, if a woman receives an inheritance and then gets a divorce, her spouse will likely have no claim to it. However, if the money from the inheritance is placed in a joint bank account, it becomes marital property. These matters can be very complex, but there are some other options to protect an inheritance in the case of a divorce.

Prenuptial Agreements

One of the first options to protect an inheritance is a prenuptial agreement. In a prenuptial agreement, certain assets are agreed prior to the wedding to be counted as personal property in the event of a divorce. This would mean that a spouse could not claim money from an inheritance. However, approaching the issue of divorce before the marriage begins is a difficult issue.

Should I Create a Trust?

A trust is a much more agreeable option for many people. When a parent leaves an inheritance to their child in a will, it must be in the name of the child only; otherwise, the spouse might have a claim to it. If there is no will, the inheritance may be at risk.

By creating a trust in the child’s name, the parent can designate that the assets belong to only them. There are several options for protecting a child’s inheritance, and a knowledgeable lawyer can find the best solution.

Moorestown Divorce Lawyers at Stockton Family Law Help Clients Protect Inheritances from Divorce

A divorce can impact a child’s inheritance, but a lawyer can help make sure this does not happen. If you are concerned about your child’s inheritance in the event of a divorce, you should contact a Moorestown divorce lawyer at Stockton Family Law. We understand how important it is to protect your child’s best interests. For an initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-412-5052. Located in Moorestown, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Mount Laurel, Burlington County, and Camden County.