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Can Inherited Assets be Divided Between Spouses in a New Jersey Divorce?

There are many different parts of a divorce. One that is highly contested and can cause great difficulty is the division of assets between the two spouses. Oftentimes, spouses wonder about and fight for the assets they want to keep. This is especially so when one of them has an inheritance. When facing these situations, it is important to know how the court divides assets in a divorce. Continue reading below to learn more and contact a New Jersey divorce attorney for further assistance during this time.

Can Inherited Assets be Subject to Equitable Distribution?

In New Jersey, courts divide a couple’s assets based on the process of equitable distribution. This is a fair division of assets, not necessarily an equal split. To determine what is fair, the court establishes what is separate property and what is marital property. Separate property is assets that were acquired before the marriage. Marital property is assets that were acquired over the duration of the marriage. Inherited assets are considered separate property. Therefore, they not subject to equitable distribution and cannot be given to the other spouse in a divorce. 

However, there is an exception to be aware of. Separate property can become marital property under some circumstances, such as if it is converted. This means if an inherited asset is mixed with a marital asset, it is no longer exempt. For example, if the inheritance is deposited it into a joint account with a spouse, it can be subject to equitable distribution. 

Can an Inheritance be Used for Support?

While in most cases, inherited assets are exempt from equitable distribution, it is important to be aware that an inheritance can still be applied in other situations. This may be the case if the spouse who received an inheritance needs to make support payments, such as alimony or child support.

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If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.