25 January 2011 0 Comments

Inheritance and Divorce

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California is a community-property state.  In a divorce, each spouse is entitled to one-half of all assets accumulated during their marriage.  Under California Divorce Law, an inheritance is considered to be separate property and excluded from community property division in a divorce.

Separate property is property that either party acquired before the marriage or after the date of separation.  A gift or inheritance, received by either spouse during the marriage is considered separate property.  The other spouse is not entitled to half.

Community property and separate property can sometimes be a complex issue.  For example, if one spouse received an inheritance and used that money towards the mortgage of their home, it can then be considered Mixed Property – making it a combination of community and separate property.

To avoid any problems, it is wise to keep separate property separate.  The money should be deposited into an account with the receiver’s name on it – not in a joint account.  When it comes to determining what community property is and what is separate property, the situation can become complicated.  If you are considering divorce, contact a qualified Family Law attorney to find out what your rights and responsibilities are.

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