When a couple divorces, there may be disputes about whether one party can claim rights to the other’s inheritance. This conflict can arise if one of the spouses inherits money or property during the marriage. Learn more about inheritances during divorce, and speak to our Chicago high net-worth attorney Michael C. Craven today if you have questions about protecting your inheritance and other assets.

Illinois Property Division Laws

In Illinois, the divorce court will divide the marital assets equitably, but this does not always mean 50/50. Generally, an inheritance is not considered part of the marital pot to be divided and is often treated as the separate property of the spouse who inherited it. However, questions arise about when an inheritance could be regarded as joint property arise.

For example, what if you inherited money from your parents but it was put into a joint bank account with your ex-spouse? Or, what if your inheritance is used to add a family room extension to the marital home? In these scenarios, the inheritance might not always be considered separate property. This is known as a comingling of assets and can affect the status of your inheritance in a divorce. That is why it is essential to protect your inheritance if you have questions about your marriage.

How To Protect Your Inheritance

If you inherit money or property and are considering divorce, it is critical to maintain it as separate property. For example, if you received a cash inheritance, ensure the money is always kept in an account in your name only. Also, you should not add marital property to the separate account. If you purchase something with money from your inherited cash, make sure what you buy is also in your name only.

If you keep your inheritance separate from the marital estate, the divorce court usually considers it separate property. What happens, however, if the property increases in value? Usually, the appreciation is also separate property, especially if the increase is due to passive activities like market fluctuations or the receipt of interest or dividends.

But if the higher value was because of something your spouse did, the marital estate might be entitled to a reimbursement. For instance, if you inherited your parent’s house and your ex significantly improved the kitchen, the marital estate may be entitled to be compensated for your spouse’s personal efforts that increase the value of the home.

Prenuptial Agreements

In cases where you think you may inherit money before you marry, it also is wise to protect your separate property with a prenuptial agreement, including potentially inherited property and money. A prenuptial agreement can protect your inherited property by setting predetermined outcomes, including outcomes that can be difficult to achieve without an agreement.

Contact Our Chicago High Net Worth Lawyer Today

Child custody disputes can be the most challenging aspect of a divorce, but you can have a favorable case outcome with legal assistance. If you have questions about divorce and child custody, please contact our Chicago high-net-worth lawyer Michael C. Craven for help at (312) 621-5234.

The post What Should I Do With My Inheritance If I’m Concerned About My Marriage? first appeared on Divorce Attorney in Chicago.