The treatment of inherited assets is often an issue in divorce proceedings. Should a spouse who has inherited assets or due to inherit assets automatically be able to retain those assets for themselves?
The Court need to consider the following:
- When was the inheritance received?
- How some or all of it has been spent?
- The value of the other assets in the marriage?
- Is there enough money within the marital pot to be shared between you and your spouse.
Your solicitor will want to try and argue that the inheritance is non matrimonial asset, this means that it should not fall into the ‘matrimonial pot’ of assets to be divided between you and your spouse.
However, if the inheritance has been spent and used throughout the marriage to pay for example the mortgage then it can be argued that the inheritance has become intermingled within the marital pot and could be argued that it is available to be shared between you and your spouse.
When looking at the division of the matrimonial assets the Court will consider the assets that are available at the time of the proceedings and not at some undetermined date in the future. The Court do however have a duty to consider what you or your spouse’s current or future needs are. If a relative is unwell or likely to pass away soon the Court may take into account your future inheritance prospects. But this will depend on factors such as, is the inheritance due to come through a Will and has the person died or are they still alive? A person can change their Will at any time if they are still alive. The Court will be overly cautious about dividing marital assets based upon uncertain inheritance prospects.
The Courts view is that inherited assets shall be viewed differently from matrimonial assets on divorce, but only where both parties’ needs can be met out of the matrimonial assets alone. In other words if there are insufficient other assets to meet the needs of both parties and the children, the inherited assets will need to be shared.
The experienced team at HMG Law will be able to advise you in relation to financial settlement on divorce, including how inheritances are deal with. An initial consultation is only £120 plus VAT. Call us today to arrange a meeting.
HMG Law Family Solicitors Oxford and Bicester
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