The Issue of Inheritances
Few issues are as important as property division in a divorce. Suddenly, you are facing the prospect of parting with some of your assets. Special assets such as inheritances and gifts are no exception. Massachusetts divorce law provides that the court can include inheritances in an asset division, but there are some guiding factors.
Property division in Massachusetts divorces follows the principle of equitable distribution. This means the court will fairly divide all property if there is no agreement between the spouses. The court can divide separate as well as marital property in Massachusetts. This can include property acquired prior to the marriage, inheritances, or gifts. Some states only divide marital property in divorces. Though Massachusetts includes both separate and marital property in the property division, the courts have to divide everything fairly.
What Is Fair?
The courts will judge fairness on many factors, such as who acquired or owns the particular asset. While who brought the asset into the marriage through inheritance is important, it won’t determine who gets the asset in the divorce. Another significant considering factor is who contributed the most to the acquisition or management of the asset. For example, the court may award the wife her husband’s inherited funds if she handled the investment and management of the funds. Or, a judge may award a spouse the other spouse’s separate property if there is not enough marital property for a fair division. Only inheritances already received can be included in the marital estate, subject to division. Inheritances that are only expected typically will not be included if they may not actualize.
If you need to divide inherited assets in your divorce, you may want to consider working with an experienced Massachusetts divorce mediator. A mediator can help you reach an agreement without conflict. The courts will make a fair division. Dividing your assets yourselves, however, is the only way to ensure you are both comfortable with the outcome. A skilled mediator can help you divide all your assets fairly. Each spouse can walk away from the mediation table with a truly fair share of both separate and marital assets. Mediation can greatly help dispel any conflict over property division.
Do you have questions about how inheritances are handled in divorce? Mediation Advantage Services can help. Experienced in divorce mediation, Polly A. Tatum can help you and your spouse fairly divide your assets through non-adversarial mediation. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at 508-795-1557, fill out our online form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.