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Are Inheritances Divided in Divorces?

When getting divorced, there are many significant assets you may be concerned about. Perhaps, you received a large inheritance from a deceased relative that you hope will help you weather the financial tumult that can come with divorce. You may be worried about whether you will have to split this money with your ex-spouse.

Today, we’ll go over some of the basics of how inheritances are treated in divorces.

Inheritances are typically exempt from property division

In Texas divorces, community property is up for division, while separate property is generally not.

Typically, if property was received during the marriage, it is community property. However, Texas law carves out certain exceptions to this. One of these exceptions regards inheritances. Under state law, inheritances a spouse received, whenever they were received, are considered separate property.

The complications of commingling

So, this means a person never has to worry about assets they received through an inheritance being split in a Texas divorce, right? Not quite.

Rather, what a person does with an inheritance after they get it could affect whether it will continue to enjoy the protections of separate property. One thing that could endanger these protections is commingling. This is when a person mixes separate property with community property. One example of this would be putting assets received via inheritance into a joint bank account that both spouses regularly make deposits and withdrawals from. Commingling could cause separate property to shift into being considered community property.

Inheritance-related disputes in divorces

So, one area of dispute that could arise in divorces when it comes to assets received via inheritance is whether the assets lost their separate property status through commingling. Such disputes could have big financial implications. When any dispute with major potential financial impacts comes up in a divorce, it can be critical for a divorcing individual to seek out information and guidance on his or her rights and what options he or she has related to the dispute.