If you are about to divorce, you can look back over your marriage and realize you made a lot of mistakes. Everyone makes errors, but you can usually recover and move on wiser than before.
One area where this may not be possible relates to any inheritance you received. If you commingled your inheritance, you might have lost at least part of it for good.
What is commingling?
Commingling means mixing a separate asset with joint assets to the point where they become indistinguishable.
When you divorce, you need to divide your property into community and separate property. The court works on the basis that most things acquired while married belongs to both of you and need to be shared out when you divorce.
If you believe something is separate property and not subject to division, you need to prove it. Some things are simple to prove. For example, anything protected by a pre-nuptial agreement or a business you owned before you married that your spouse played no role in.
Gifts to you alone and inheritances are also assumed to be separate property, even when received during the marriage. However, if you commingle them, a court may decide the only option is to treat them as community property resulting in your spouse getting a share.
Here are some ways you could do that with an inheritance:
- You pay it into the joint account that you both pay your salaries into and use it as household money
- You put it toward home improvements on the house you both own and have spent considerable joint money on over the years
Property division can get complex when one side believes the other has commingled assets. If you are unsure of the status of certain assets, get help to find out more.