Law Office of
Robert Ricci, Jr.

Get Started With A FREE Consultation: 732-587-7051

A Common Sense Approach To

Will my inheritance be divided in a divorce in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Divorce |

When you’re facing a divorce in New Jersey, you might be asking, “How will this affect my inheritance?” The answer isn’t always straightforward. The division depends on several factors, mainly how you treat the inheritance during the marriage. It’s essential to understand the nuances involved in inheritances and divorce to avoid unexpected surprises.

It’s considered a separate property

In general, New Jersey law considers an inheritance as separate property. The court typically excludes it from dividing your assets in a divorce. For example, if you received an inheritance and kept it in a different account in your name only, the law would likely regard it as your property alone.

Maintaining clear separation throughout the marriage is crucial. Otherwise, the court might consider your inheritance as marital property.

When it can be divided

While state laws usually view inheritance as separate property, there can be instances where courts divide it in a divorce. These instances often occur when the inherited assets become commingled, or “mixed in,” with marital assets.

For example, imagine you invest your inheritance. If this investment grows in value during your marriage, the court may count that profit as shared marital property. This reflects New Jersey’s equitable distribution law, which usually includes any value added to separate assets during the marriage as part of the shared marital estate.

Here’s another scenario. If you use it to cover shared expenses and debts or improve a shared home, the court could see this as commingling. As a result, it could classify your inheritance, or the portion used for these purposes, as marital property, not separate.

In short, specific actions can change how the law views your property—turning what the court usually considers as separate, your inheritance, into something it can divide in a divorce.

Consulting legal counsel

Knowing when certain actions might impact the division of assets in a divorce is important. However, trying to navigate these circumstances by yourself can be challenging. This is especially true when dealing with equitable distribution, which is the court’s process of dividing marital assets fairly. In such situations, consider seeking an attorney experienced in family law. Such a legal professional can provide guidance and help you understand how certain factors could influence the division of assets in your divorce.

FindLaw Network