Divorce proceedings often hinder one's finances. Numerous Macomb residents have been embroiled in bitter property division lawsuits arising out of divorce proceedings. In order to protect their assets in divorce, many divorcing couples consult with attorneys.
One spouse may have inherited substantial wealth from his ancestors even prior to the marriage. Under Michigan state laws, the spouse has the right to claim equal rights to joint marital property in lieu of property division. However, one may have ways to protect their inheritance from going to the other spouse due to the divorce and separation.
Under Michigan law, inherited property is typically not regarded as joint marital property. Thus the beneficiary's spouse may not have any right to the inheritance during property division. However, in cases where the recipient co-mingles the inheritance with other marital property, such as by depositing it in a joint bank account, the inheritance may then become part of the marital property.
In addition, if the inheritance is used for common purposes like improving the marital residence, the inheritance may become marital property and be a part of the property division process in divorce. Thus the family court judge may look into the assets that were comingled in order to determine whether the inherited assets are jointly owned for property division.
In cases where the inheritance was received prior to the marriage, the court may find it to be separate from the marital property. The couple may sign prenuptial agreements in cases where one of the spouses has substantial wealth from an inheritance. The attorneys of the spouses may also be able to prove that even though the inheritance money was spent and co-mingled with the joint marital assets, the spouse had no intention of sharing his or her inheritance with the estranged spouse.
Source: WSJ.com, "How to keep your inheritance in a divorce," Neil Parmar Nov. 9, 2014