One of the most challenging issues involved in divorce is asset division, especially when it involves complex assets such as real estate or an inheritance. Another complicated type of asset is an inheritance gained by a current, former, or soon-to-be-former spouse. To determine whether you will be able to claim any of this inheritance, there are often many complicated factors that must be considered. It is often particularly helpful to obtain the assistance of a knowledgeable family law attorney in this situation.
Factors Involved in Georgia Property Division
In accordance with Georgia law, property accumulated after a wedding is considered marital property and subject to division during divorce. The nature of inheritances, however, is slightly different. If your spouse receives an inheritance and the inheritance was not intended to be shared with you, the inheritance belongs to your spouse who has no obligation to share unless your spouse properly commingles the assets.
There are several ways to commingle assets including placing the inheritance amount into an account with both of your names on it, using the inheritance to fund joint investment ventures, or using the inheritance to maintain, repair, or purchase a dwelling. If a court determines that your spouse had the intent to share an inheritance with you, you will likely able to include the inheritance in the property division process. If your spouse’s inheritance is spent on a property that appreciates during a marriage and the appreciation is the result of your efforts, a court is also likely to include this appreciated value in the property that is divided during a divorce.
Inheritance Received Before Marriage
If your spouse receives an inheritance before marrying you or a spouse declined to commingle an inheritance with your finances, the inheritance will remain the sole property of your spouse. If you happened to sign a prenuptial agreement before marriage, your ability to obtain any of this inheritance will be further weakened. As a result, it is often difficult to obtain an inheritance that your spouse received prior to marriage.
The Effects of Divorce
If a person expresses the intent to pass an asset to a spouse in a will, if the spouses later divorce and the will is not updated, law in the state of Georgia will cancel out this request. All of the other lawful terms of the will, however, will remain valid. The only way for a person to pass on an estate to a former spouse is to expressly state the intent to pass assets to the former spouse in a will despite the divorce that led to the dissolution of the couple’s marriage.
Contact an Experienced Georgia Divorce Lawyer
If you need assistance navigating the numerous issues that arise during a divorce, including how to handle assets like inheritances, speak with a seasoned divorce lawyer who can make sure that your case resolves in the best possible manner. Contact Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. today to schedule an initial free consultation.