Property division is one of the biggest factors for divorcing couples. It is important that you know your legal rights and what assets are considered joint within the marriage. It is common for one spouse to acquire property or funds through inheritance. For example, when the family member of one spouse passes away, that person might make prior arrangements to leave a portion of their assets to one spouse — not the couple. This is property obtained during the marriage and, depending on actions taken when the inheritance was received, these assets may or may not be rightfully claimed by both individuals in the event of a divorce.
Federal law classifies inheritances as property belonging to the individual by whom it was received, but some common, simple actions void that immunity, such as depositing the money into a joint checking or savings account. New Jersey laws ultimately dictate what is and is not considered joint property. Generally speaking, any asset that was used to benefit joint endeavors may be subject to division during a divorce. This is known as commingling.
These rules also apply to wealth or inheritance that was acquired before marriage. Some individuals may deposit inheritance into a joint account without the intentions of sharing funds. Though you often are burdened to collect a high level of proof in these cases, it can be demonstrated that the property belonged to a sole individual. The advice of an experienced attorney can be very beneficial in these complex property division situations.