Is My Ex-Spouse Entitled To A Portion Of My Family Inheritance In The State Of Florida?
If you were given a family inheritance either before or during your marriage and are currently going through the divorce process, you may be curious as to whether your ex-spouse is entitled to any portion of this inheritance. The following article will discuss whether a family inheritance is considered marital property which is subject to equitable distribution upon divorce in the state of Florida.
What is a Family Inheritance?
A family inheritance describes assets that one individual conveys to another family member. An inheritance may contain cash, investments (for example, stocks and bonds), or other assets (for example, jewelry, art, antiques, and real estate).
Is a Family Inheritance Considered Separate or Marital Property in Florida?
If the family inheritance in question came from a family member other than your ex-spouse, the inheritance will be considered separate property, which is not subject to equitable distribution upon divorce in the state of Florida. This means that if you obtain a divorce in Florida, you will typically be allowed to retain any inheritance that was given to you by a family member either before or during the marriage. You should also be able to retain any increase in the value of the inheritance that accrues throughout the life of the marriage if you are able to show that your ex-spouse did not contribute to this increase in any way during the marriage.
The Equitable Distribution Model
Some states are considered “community property” states, in which all property acquired during a marriage is considered to be jointly-owned by the spouses and is therefore subject to an even split upon separation or divorce. However, most states (including Florida), are not community property states. Florida instead follows an equal distribution model, in which a court first determines what property between the parties is considered marital property and then divides that marital property in a manner it deems to be fair and reasonable.
Exceptions to the Family Inheritance Rule
There are some exceptions to the general rule that a family inheritance is separate property which is not subject to equitable distribution. Some of these exceptions include:
- If the value of your inheritance increases during the marriage and your ex-spouse can prove that her efforts during the marriage directly contributed to this increase in value, she will likely be entitled to her share of the increased value.
- If the value of your inheritance is commingled with other marital funds during the marriage, your ex-spouse could acquire an interest in the inheritance. The commingling of funds during the marriage will typically convert separate property to marital property which is subject to equitable distribution upon divorce.
If You Need Help Determining What Property is Marital Property, Our Firm Can Help
If you need additional information regarding what property is considered marital property, please contact Greater Orlando Family Law. Our experienced Orlando family law attorneys will be happy to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.