What happens with inherited assets on divorce?

In mediation we often have to help people discuss what should happen to inherited assets.

The starting point in any divorce is that ALL assets first have to be disclosed and, in most cases, we then look at what assets are marital/joint assets and what, if any, are non-marital. The starting point for dealing with marital assets is that they should be shared equally. If they can be shared in that way and everyone’s needs can be met by using just those assets, then inherited assets may be retained by the person who received them.

However, it isn’t always clear what is a marital asset and what is a non-marital asset because sometimes the inherited assets have been mingled with joint assets. A really good example, that we often see, is when inheritance has been used to help buy and or renovate the family home.

Where inherited assets have been used in this way the family home will then often be treated as a marital asset and will be shared between the parties. However, a court must have regard to all the circumstances of the case, with first consideration being given to the welfare while a minor of any child of the family who has not attained the age of eighteen.

Several other factors that alter how inherited assets are shared in a divorce case are:

a) The length of the marriage;

b) The ages of the parties;

c) Where is everyone going to live and how can new homes be purchased, how much does everyone need to buy those new homes;

d) The amount of the inheritance and when it was received;

e) The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;

f) The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;

g) Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;

h) The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;

Future inheritance is rarely included in a divorce settlement.

If you are getting divorced and need to sort out how to share your assets then mediation would be a great way for you to reach an amicable agreement, avoid court and reduce your legal fees. We can explain all the issues that need to be considered. You can book a free initial call on the booking page of our website and we will explain how mediation works and how we can help you. Or call us on 0800 206 2258 or email us at hello@familymandm.co.uk.


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