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What is a commingled inheritance?

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2024 | DIVORCE - High-Asset Divorce

Commingling assets essentially means mixing them together. They’ve been blended so that it is difficult or even impossible to sort them out again.

An example of this could be if your parents directly leave you an inheritance. As soon as you receive it, it is likely a separate asset, rather than a marital asset – even if you’re already married.

But if you put that inheritance into an account that your spouse also has access to – such as a joint bank account – then it has been commingled with your other funds. It has now been mixed together with your income – if this is with the account where your paychecks are deposited – or with the other money from your savings.

Why is this important in a divorce?

One reason that this is important to understand is that separate assets do not have to be divided during a divorce, but marital assets do.

So, if you kept your inheritance separate, you would get to retain the entire balance of the account in a divorce. Your spouse never had access to that inheritance and never should have expected to use it, and that remains true even though your marriage is ending.

But if you mixed the inheritance together with your other funds, this can turn it into a marital asset. When this has been done, then you do have an obligation to divide it with your ex during a divorce.

A complex divorce

The financial side of a divorce can get very complicated, especially if you and your ex disagree about the status of your funds. Always be sure that you understand your legal options.