Does my inheritance form part of the divorce settlement?

Hi, thank you for your question.

It really depends on how long you have been married, what your needs are and how you have used / treated the inheritance if you have already received it.

If it is a short marriage with no children and you are both self sufficient, my view is that you have a good case for ring fencing your inheritance. Particularly, if you have kept it separately and have not used it to benefit both of you in any way. This is also the case if you are yet to receive it.

However, if you have been married for a long time and have children then the opposite is likely. As is most often the case, the court has discretion on this matter and a decision is made depending on the facts case to case.

One of the factors for the court to consider is whether there is a prenuptial or post nuptial agreement in which the inheritance is dealt with. Often wealthy families will have such agreements in place to preserve the family wealth. If the agreement is drafted correctly and has been reviewed regularly, the court is likely to attach more weight to it.

If you have received the inheritance and it has been used to benefit the family such as funding the home and joint expenses, it may be difficult to succeed in an argument to ring fence the balance.

In particular if there is not enough money in the matrimonial pot to meet your individual needs following divorce / separation. If you have not received the inheritance but you are likely to receive it in the foreseeable future, it may be taken into consideration as a capital resource.

Hope that helps.

Best regards,

Harjit

About the Author

Family law solicitor.

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