Asset division is one of the most highly contested aspects of any divorce. And while it may be easy to assume that all assets are split 50/50 in the event of a divorce, that’s rarely the case.
North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, meaning all assets are divided in a way that is fair to each spouse.
How Is Inheritance Divided in the Event of a Divorce?
First, it’s important to understand how all assets are divided. Typically, all properties, materials, goods, and investments fall into two categories:
- Separate Property. Separate property refers to any property the spouses acquired separately before the marriage or after separation (or in some states after divorce).
- Marital Property. Marital property generally refers to all of the property acquired by one or both spouses during the marriage.
As an equitable distribution state, North Carolina courts will divide marital property in a way that’s fair to both spouses and the family as a whole.
Is Inheritance Separate or Marital Property?
Inheritance is money or property you receive after the death of the previous property owner. While inheritance is usually received from older family members, such as parents or grandparents, it is possible to inherit property from people you are not related to.
Most often, inheritances are considered separate property, regardless of when it was acquired. This means that even if your inheritance was acquired while you were happily married, it will likely still be considered separate property at the time of your divorce.
Exceptions to the Rule
Every divorce case is unique, which is why it’s so important to have an attorney who understands property division laws. While inheritance is usually considered separate property, there are exceptions, such as:
- The inheritance was granted to you and your spouse. If it is clearly noted that this inheritance is being given to you and your spouse while you were both married, it will likely be considered marital property during your divorce.
- The inheritance was transformed into marital property. If your inheritance was placed in a joint bank account, it’s likely a court would consider the inheritance a gift to your marriage. Inheritance can also become part of the marital estate if it’s used to buy jointly-held properties or investments.
At Blood Law, PLLC, we believe in helping our clients achieve their goals – no matter how complex their divorce or other family law issue. Our experienced attorneys provide tailored legal services with a unique, team-based approach to do our best to achieve these results.
To learn more about our legal services, contact our Charlotte divorce lawyers online or give us a call at (704) 286-0570.