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How inherited assets are treated during a divorce

64818708_S.jpgInherited assets may be an issue for Illinois couples who are planning to get a divorce. Inheritances that are acquired during a marriage are not usually viewed as marital property, and as a result, they are usually not subject to division. They are typically considered to be separate property that belongs to whoever inherited the assets and cannot be reallocated between divorcing parties.

However, the protection inherited assets may have may change once part of the inheritance has been shared. This applies to inheritances that have been deposited into joint financial accounts and applied to marital expenses, which no longer have immunity from being equitably distributed. In other cases, inheritances that are used to improve the primary residence of a married couple may also no longer be immune.

Whether or not the inheritance is commingled is a factor in whether the inheritance can be divided in a divorce. If no commingling has occurred, the inheritance remains separate property and in the sole possession of the person who inherited it. The most effective way to protect these types of assets may be to have a prenuptial agreement. In such an agreement, the parties can agree to classify certain assets as separately owned and not subject to division. In the absence of an agreement to the contrary, challenging the presumption that the funds were intended to be shared will require substantial evidence.

A family law attorney may litigate to protect the interests of divorcing clients in matters of property division. The attorney may work to ensure that property of sentimental value remain in the client's possession.

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