Are Inherited Assets Subject to Equitable Distribution in a New Jersey Divorce?

The process of divorce includes a variety of different parts. One of the more highly contested parts of a divorce includes the division of assets. During this time, spouses often wonder which assets they will get to keep, especially if one of them has an inheritance. When facing these situations, it is important to understand the process of equitable distribution and how the court divides assets in a divorce. Continue reading below to learn more and contact an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney for further guidance.

Can Inherited Assets be Subject to Equitable Distribution?

Courts in New Jersey divide a couple’s assets based on the process of equitable distribution. This is a fair and just division of property, not necessarily an equal one. In order to know what is fair, the court will determine which assets are marital property and which are separate property. Marital property consists of assets that are inherited throughout the marriage. Separate property consists of assets that are inherited before the marriage or converted into marital property. In New Jersey, inherited assets are deemed separate property and therefore not subject to equitable distribution. This means they cannot be given to the other spouse in a divorce. 

While this is true, there is an exception. If an inherited asset is mixed with a marital asset, it is no longer exempt during a divorce. For example, if the beneficiary to an inheritance deposits it into a joint account with their spouse, it can be subject to equitable distribution. This may also be the case if the inheritance produces an income or growth. 

Can an Inheritance be Used for Support?

While inherited assets can be exempt from equitable distribution in most cases, there are other situations where it can be used after a divorce. This may be for support payments, such as alimony or child support.

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We understand that those getting a divorce most likely have several questions regarding the weeks and months to come. Paris P. Eliades Law Firm, LLC is honored to serve the people of New Jersey, including Sparta, Sussex County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Bergen County with the quality legal services they deserve. If you are getting a divorce or have any other questions regarding divorce-related matters, please do not hesitate to contact our firm for a consultation today.