Undoubtedly, one of the most contested matters in a divorce is property division. Ohio law categorizes assets as separate property or marital property, and each is treated differently in the divorce. If you have an inheritance, you may be concerned about keeping your gift. Several factors determine how an inheritance is divided in a divorce, if at all, and an attorney can help you explore them. Contact Comunale Law Office for a consultation where you can receive guidance regarding your specific circumstances. 

What Is a Marital Asset in a Divorce?

Marital property is any asset that was received during the course of a marriage. Marital property is subject to division in a divorce and, therefore, can be split between spouses. Such property includes debts, the family home, retirement contributions and more. 

Knowing that certain property is divided between spouses, you may wonder if your inheritance will be split. In Ohio, receiving an inheritance during a divorce does not mean it is automatically subject to property division since it is considered a gift. However, the way you use your inheritance during the marriage can potentially make it a marital asset. 

Factors Affecting Ohio Marital Property

If your inheritance was commingled with your marital property, you must trace the asset back to the original gift for it to remain separate property. To “trace” an asset, there needs to be a paper trail that begins at the time you received the asset. This trail is evidence that the inheritance began as separate property but eventually was commingled with other assets at some point. If you are able to trace back the asset and provide evidence that it was originally separate property, it will not be divided between you and your spouse in the divorce. However, this requires you to maintain accurate records. After separate property is commingled with marital assets, tracing the funds can become quite complicated. 

Conversely, it’s relatively simple to prove that an inheritance was separate if it was never commingled with marital assets. You will just need to provide tax or probate documents as proof.  

Real Estate Inheritance

How will a divorce affect the real estate property that you inherited? Will you be required to give your partner equity from the house and even have to sell it to pay for their share? Again, the answers to these questions depend on whether the asset’s separate status was lost. 

Like a monetary inheritance, asset tracing and keeping records are paramount to proving that the inheritance should be treated as separate property. If you paid taxes and insurance fees using marital assets, the court might count a part of the value as marital property. 

Speak to An Attorney to Determine How to Protect Your Inheritance in a Divorce

After receiving a gift or inheritance, you will need to take a few steps to protect your rightful share by providing evidence that it was separate property if commingled. Comunale Law Office offers guidance for those facing such an issue in a divorce. Call today to learn how you can protect the assets to which you are entitled.