The reality of divorce is that often, property certain spouses believed to be exclusively theirs is actually considered marital property. In this case, each spouse may be entitled to a portion of it. Assets such as houses, cars, and funds held in bank accounts may all be at stake. For this reason, many people wonder about whether they may lose an inheritance if they get divorced. Please continue reading and reach out to our Somerville divorce lawyer to learn more.
Can I lose my inheritance if I get divorced in New Jersey?
The first thing you should understand is that when a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement isn’t in place and both spouses cannot come to an agreement on terms of property division, courts will typically subject their assets to a process known as equitable distribution. Courts will essentially take stock of and set a value to all property they deem “marital property,” and from there, they will distribute marital property equitably between spouses. Note that “equitably” frequently does not mean a 50/50 split of property.
Marital property will typically encompass all or most assets either party acquired during the course of a marriage, while separate property tends to deal with property acquired before or outside of a marriage, such as gifts, and, in most cases, inheritances. That said, though inheritances are typically exempt from equitable distribution, there are certain instances where your inheritance may be at risk. For example, when someone receives an inheritance and deposits it in a jointly-held bank account, their spouse may be entitled to a portion of that inheritance in a divorce.
Can an inheritance be garnished to enforce a spousal or child support order?
As you may know, a child or spousal support agreement is a legally-binding document. When these agreements are not followed, such as when one spouse refuses to make regular child support payments, courts will do what they can to enforce the agreement. Often, when these agreements are repeatedly ignored, courts will order the payor to pay off any spousal or child support agreement arrears either by accessing their bank accounts, inheritances, or other assets. If you have further questions about enforcing a support agreement or you believe your inheritance is at stake, you should speak with our Somerset County family law attorney at once.
Contact the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner
Do not face complex divorce and family law matters alone. With over 25 years of experience, the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner is dedicated to providing you with the knowledge and skill your case deserves. We will fight to protect your rights, your financial security, and your children. Contact the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner today for a consultation.
Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney At Law is located in Somerville, NJ and serves clients in and around Somerville, Raritan, Lyons, Bridgewater, Manville, Zarephath, Neshanic Station, Pluckemin, Whitehouse, Martinsville, Bound Brook, Belle Mead, South Bound Brook, Bedminster, Whitehouse Station, Three Bridges, Liberty Corner, Warren, Middlesex, Somerset, Stanton, Skillman, Blawenburg, Far Hills and Somerset County.
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