Inheritance and Divorce in Florida

An inheritance can make a divorce even more complicated, whether it happened before or during the marriage. Luckily, you can take steps to protect these assets. Inheritance and divorce law in Florida is complex. To give yourself the best protection, partner with the experienced family law team at the O’Mara Law Group so we can support and guide you through protecting your assets during the prenuptial, postnuptial, or divorce processes.

Florida judges generally order an equitable division of property during a divorce. The decision-making process can be multi-faceted, especially when it involves an inheritance from a bequest made to only one spouse.

Depending on how you handle an inheritance, a judge may decide it is marital property subject to division. If you have questions about inheritance and divorce in Florida or wish to protect your assets, partner with the skilled family law attorneys at the O’Mara Law Group. We will support you during divorce proceedings and do everything possible to promote a fair and amicable process.

What Is Marital Property?

In Florida, many assets acquired during a marriage are considered marital property. When a couple divorces, the state generally requires an equitable asset distribution.

For example, joint bank accounts, vehicles, and homes you bought together are all subject to equal division unless you previously agreed otherwise. Splitting this property is more difficult in contested divorces, and you need a respected divorce attorney to help guide you.

When an inheritance is left to only one spouse before or during the marriage, judges will determine who gets it. Generally, the inheritance belongs to the spouse who received it, but there are gray areas that could convert it into marital property. 

We help all parties achieve an equitable distribution of marital property. We also understand that women experience an average 45 percent decline in economic circumstances after divorce. To protect your right to a fair distribution, consult an Orlando divorce attorney for women at O’Mara Law Group.

When Does an Inheritance Become Marital Property?

Typically, inheritances are separate properties belonging to the spouse who receives the money, property, or other asset. However, complications arise when an inheritance is commingled with marital assets or the funds are used during the marriage. In such cases, it may be considered marital property subject to property division

For example, if you inherited a boat and are the only one who uses it, the vessel is likely not subject to division during a divorce. However, if you used marital funds to improve the boat, a judge may deem it marital property. You may not have to split its value evenly because you originally inherited it, but it is likely open to division.

The same applies to inheritances received before a marriage. Once the inheritance is used for the other spouse’s benefit or you spend combined funds to improve or add to it, it may become subject to property division.

How To Protect Inheritance From Divorce

If you have inherited assets you want to protect, avoid commingling them with other marital assets. One of the ways you can do this is by carefully observing how your finances relate to that asset. For example, if you inherit money you want to keep separate, hold it in a different account without your spouse’s name.

You also can protect an inheritance by not adding marital funds to a bank account or using them to improve a property. Carefully monitor how marital funds are used. This information is valuable to determine which part of the inheritance remains yours in the event of divorce.

Utilizing a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement To Protect Assets

Another way to protect your assets is through a prenuptial agreement. You can draw up a prenuptial agreement with the help of a skilled, experienced divorce attorney. They can verify that the contract you both sign is legally enforceable and affords you the desired protection. 

Prenuptial agreements are a good choice when one or both spouses enter a marriage with significant assets. Such an agreement is especially helpful during a high-asset divorce, which can be complex when both parties feel entitled to the marital assets. A legally binding prenuptial agreement can make the divorce less adversarial.

You also can use a postnuptial agreement to protect an inheritance you gained while married. If you wish to keep the assets to yourself, do not add your spouse’s name to a bank account, property deed, car title, or other legal ownership instrument.

A skilled divorce attorney from the O’Mara Law Group can help you draw up prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that are fair to you and your spouse. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience writing agreements valid in Florida courts and will protect any part of an inheritance you don’t wish to share with your spouse.

Does an Inheritance Affect Alimony?

Florida courts examine both parties’ income and assets when determining spousal support. Even if your inheritance is excepted from marital property divisions, it can still influence the judge’s decision about your ability to pay or your need for support. 

A judge may order higher alimony payments for a spouse with significant assets based on inheritance. They may also decide that a spouse does not need support despite having a lower income due to assets available through inheritance. One spouse may also seek divorce modifications regarding support if the other receives an inheritance that changes their economic status.

If you have questions about how inheritance affects alimony or child support following your divorce, contact the knowledgeable alimony lawyers from the O’Mara Law Group to discuss your case.

An Experienced Orlando Divorce Lawyer Can Assist With Protecting Your Assets

If you wish to protect your inheritance or other assets, you need an attorney with significant divorce experience to review your options and advocate for you. While judges consider verbal commitments that spouses make to each other, these promises leave too much room for interpretation or conflicting testimony.

An experienced attorney can help you draw up a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement and advise you to protect yourself financially. They also have the background to help negotiate with your spouse so that an already difficult situation doesn’t worsen.

Your attorney can help establish whether an inheritance was made to you alone. They can also track down evidence that you did not combine your inheritance and marital property. If you did, your attorney can help develop a fair asset division that recognizes the inheritance as yours but still allows your spouse a fair portion of the commingled marital property.

Trust the Team at the O'Mara Law Group

At the O’Mara Law Group, our focus is on helping good people through difficult situations. We understand how hard divorce can be on all parties and aim to find equitable solutions that benefit everyone. We firmly believe in helping our clients navigate the family law system to achieve positive outcomes while treating all other parties with decency and respect.

Our Orlando divorce attorneys have earned recognition from several local and national sources, including:

If you wish to protect your inheritance in case of, or because of, a divorce or have questions about inheritance and divorce in Florida, contact the O’Mara Law Group to schedule a consultation. We will help you protect assets that are rightfully yours while supporting you through a difficult time.


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