When seeking a divorce in Texas, one of the important steps that a divorce lawyer will guide you through is the division of marital property.
Attorneys find that this step can be tricky for some divorcing spouses, especially concerning inheritances as Texas is a community property state.
If you received an inheritance during marriage and now are divorcing, a family divorce lawyer can explain who gets what when it comes to an inheritance.
Community Property And Divorce
Because Texas is a community property state, in most cases divorcing couples are required to divide any property acquired throughout the marriage.
Yet there are certain types of property that divorce lawyers are required to handle differently, inheritances being one of them.
Whether or not your attorney finds that the inheritance property must be divided depends on how the property was given and how it was handled afterward.
Inheritances Are Generally Considered Separate Property
Generally speaking, an inheritance personally received at any time, whether before or during marriage, is yours and remains separate property even if deciding to divorce.
As long as the inheritance was given only to you, it is not subject to division.
A divorce lawyer will have you identify what was received, from whom, and how it was given to make certain that this happens.
It is important to note that what happens after receiving the inheritance is critical.
It may come to you as separate property; however, it may have been converted into community property by how it was managed or used.
Commingled Inheritances Are Community Property
Divorce lawyers often find that an inheritance can no longer be classified as separate property and instead must be counted as community property when it has been treated as a commingled inheritance.
Commingled property is property that was inherited by one person and has become property of the marriage because it was commingled with community property.
The main way that divorce attorneys find this happening is when inheritances are deposited into joint accounts used by both spouses along with additional marital funds deposited into them.
Because of this, the second spouse is then entitled to a portion of the inheritance.
Another way that an inheritance is converted from separate property to community property is when it is used it to buy something that is considered community property within the marriage, as money for a down payment on a house, and other similar circumstances.
Is Your Inheritance Separate or Community Property?
Although Texas is a community property state, your inheritance received while married is still separate property unless a divorce lawyer sees that it has been treated as community property.
When inheritance money is commingled into a joint account and mixed with funds that are community property or used to buy community property, it becomes community property.