Marital property is every asset and fund acquired by each spouse during their marriage. If the spouses choose to separate or divorce, this property is divided equitably between the two parties. In North Carolina, however, unless inheritance is given to each spouse individually, or it contributes to shared funds, it is not considered marital property.
When dividing marital property, a court will consider:
- the income, property, and liabilities of each spouse;
- obligations for support from a previous marriage;
- duration of the marriage;
- equitable claims, or contributions made, to the marital property;
- direct or indirect contributions each spouse made to the other’s standard of living; and/or
- direct contributions to the increase in value of marital or separate property.
There are exceptions to this legal scenario; one exception is how a spouse receives an inheritance. For example, if the parent of one spouse dies and leaves them a sum of money, this would be classified a separate gift to only that spouse. However, if that spouse deposits this award in a joint marital account, it will be classified as marital property.
How to Keep Inheritance as Separate Property
The only sure-fire way to guarantee that an inheritance remains the property of the receiving spouse is to keep it in a separate bank account. Additionally, the spouse who receives the inheritance should only use these funds on items that benefit them exclusively. Once the funds are used for the marriage or jointly held interests, it could be argued that those funds should be divided equitably upon termination of the marriage.
Dependable Property Division Attorneys
If you are going through a divorce or separation and are not sure how your property should be separated, our property division lawyers can help. We have extensive experience in divorce-related legal issues and will do everything we can to ensure your assets are divided equitably.
Contact our firm online or call us at (704) 659-0007 for your case evaluation.