When couples decide to end their marriage, the division of marital assets becomes a key aspect of the process.
Inherited property often raises questions about its inclusion in this division.
Inclusion of inherited property
In Washington, inherited property is typically separate property. This means that if one spouse inherits property during the marriage, it may not be part of the marital assets subject to division.
The timing of the inheritance plays a role in determining if the property is part of the marital assets. If the inheritance occurs before the marriage, it is more likely to remain separate property. On the other hand, if inherited during the marriage, the property might be subject to division.
The co-mingling of assets is another factor. If the inherited property becomes mixed with marital assets or used for joint purposes, it may lose its separate status. For example, using inherited funds to improve the marital home could impact its classification.
Implications for division
If the court finds the inherited property is separate, it usually remains with the inheriting spouse post-divorce. However, if it is part of the marital assets, the court will include it in the overall division. In such cases, a fair and equitable distribution is the goal. In the event of a dispute over the classification of inherited property, the court will assess various factors to decide.
In 2022, Washington State recorded 22,062 divorces. While every case is unique, spouses with inherited assets often face more complexities when it comes to asset division.