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Is an inheritance included in the divorce settlement?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Firm News |

Going through a divorce can be challenging. Aside from the legal procedure, the aftermath of a divorce poses new questions regarding the division of assets, including whether an inheritance will be part of the divorce settlement.

Two different property types

Understanding how inheritance is treated is crucial to better prepare for the financial outcomes of your divorce proceedings. In Oklahoma, the courts differentiate between separate and marital property during divorce:

  • Separate property: This category includes assets acquired before the marriage or individually received as gifts or inheritance during the marriage.
  • Marital property: This includes all assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage and is typically subject to division during a divorce.

Each state has its divorce law. Oklahoma typically recognizes inheritance as a separate property and is not subject to division in a divorce. This means inheritances received before or during the marriage remain the individual’s property.

Things can get tricky if you mix your inheritance with marital assets. For example, depositing inheritance money into a joint account might fall under marital property. Similarly, using inheritance money for home improvements can shift it from your separate property to marital property.

Keeping your inheritance as separate property

You can keep inherited funds in a separate account to safeguard your inheritance and maintain its separate property status. Another option to protect your monetary assets is to create a post-nuptial agreement. This agreement includes provisions for dividing the couple’s property and assets, dividing debts, and defining the parameters of spousal support.

If you decide to get a post-nuptial agreement to protect your inheritance or other assets, you may want to consult a professional who can help you draft a contract that meets all legal requirements and addresses your specific needs.