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Inheritance money can complicate divorce

Getting divorced in Texas can be challenging because the process involves more than simply untangling emotions. It also involves untangling finances. One area that can be particularly contentious is determining what happens to one spouse's inheritance in divorce.

In a divorce situation, perhaps one party received some inheritance money from a relative, for example. The relative may have left the money to this party in his or her will without mentioning the party's spouse in the will, too. This inheritance money would be considered separate property and thus would not be subject to property division during divorce.

However, if inherited funds end up being deposited into a bank account that the couple have together, co-mingling has taken place. Likewise, if marital funds are placed into the inheritance recipient's inheritance account, this is co-mingling. Thus, the inheritance would be subject to the equitable division of property. Still, if the recipient is able to prove that he or she never intended to share the inheritance money, a portion of it may be considered separate property. However, this burden of proof is high, and in this situation, an attorney's help can be invaluable.

Understanding the law when it comes to property division, especially involving inheritance money, can be tricky in Texas. However, an attorney can explain it clearly and help one to pursue a settlement agreement that is fair and personally beneficial with a future ex-spouse. If such an agreement cannot be reached at the negotiation table, the attorney can help to ensure that one's rights are protected at divorce trial.

Source: findlaw.com, "Inheritance and Divorce", Accessed on Aug. 7, 2017

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