If you are reading this article, you are probably particularly worried about whether you soon-to-be ex-spouse can claim your inheritance. You are not alone. For many divorcing couples, this is a real concern. You may have already received or may be due to receive a sizeable inheritance which, understandably, you do not want your former spouse to benefit from.
In the UK, when considering how the assets in a marriage are to be divided between a divorcing couple, the assets are all ‘pooled’ together (even if they are not owned jointly by the couple) to ascertain what is in the matrimonial ‘pot’. The property or money which either of you have inherited is no exception to this. However, it is important to assess your individual circumstances to consider whether your inheritance could be excluded from the matrimonial ‘pot’ before the remainder of the assets are divided.
In respect of inheritance that you have already received, consideration must be given to the size of inheritance, the type of asset inherited, when it was received, how the inheritance has been used and the needs of you, your soon-to-be ex-spouse and any children of the marriage.
Although each case will depend on individual circumstances, the general rule is that, if inherited assets have either been used for the benefit of the couple or the family or intermingled with other assets in the marriage, they will usually form part of the matrimonial ‘pot’ and will therefore be available for division upon divorce. This is more likely to be the case where the inherited assets were acquired long before the marriage broke down.
The Court would also expect for consideration to be given to the needs of the family, particularly children, and, if the only way to meet those needs is by dividing inherited assets, the Court will do this.
Usually, the Court will not consider future inheritances when dividing the assets of marriage upon divorce, unless it is expected that you (on indeed your soon-to-be ex-spouse) will receive the inheritance in the very near future. The Courts have even been known to delay proceedings until the inheritance is received, depending on the circumstances of the case.
If your marriage has broken down and you have any questions in relation to your inheritance and divorce, then get in touch with the Family Law team at ORJ Solicitors.
The Family Law team at ORJ Solicitors offer a free 30 minute consultation at our offices to assess and advise you in relation to your separation, divorce, children, financial and/or property concerns.