Treating an Inheritance Upon a Massachusetts Divorce
An inheritance in divorce is divided by the court. They have the right to divide it 50-50 or they can allocate it differently. As a general matter, if an inheritance is fairly traceable to the person that received it, then the court would not divide that 50-50 especially if the inheritance was received close to the date of divorce. It also depends how the parties treated the inheritance during the marriage. If for example, they got an inheritance and decided they both wanted a new kitchen and that was 10 years ago and they’ve both enjoyed the kitchen, then you’re not going to be able to really go back and take out that $30,000 and say that you should get it back out of the marital state because the terminology there is it’s ‘woven into the fabric of the marriage’. If the inheritance is ‘woven into the fabric of then marriage’, then it will probably be treated as a marital asset subject to a 50-50 division. If however it was segregated and treated as a separate asset by the parties and for instance, in an investment account in one name only and never put in to joint names and the non-inheriting spouse didn’t even know how much it was or where it was, then it’s much more likely to be considered in a less than 50-50 division and sometimes entirely excluded from the division of the marital estate.
This informational blog post was provided by Cynthia Hanley, an experienced Massachusetts Divorce Attorney.