When couples head toward their divorce, they naturally have a lot of questions about how their assets and debts will be divided under Texas law. If one spouse has recently received an inheritance or if they anticipate one, they will usually want to know if inheritances are subject to division in a divorce.
In this article, we explain how inheritances are handled in Texas divorces. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to an attorney at our firm for assistance.
Texas is one of a handful of states that follows the “community property” model when it comes to dividing marital property in a divorce. Under Texas’ community property law, everything acquired by a married couple during a marriage is owned equally or 50/50 by both spouses, with the exception of separate property.
What is Separate Property?
When a couple divorces in Texas, the first task at hand is to determine what property is separate since it is not divided in a divorce. Separate property includes assets acquired by either spousebefore the marriage, but it also includes gifts received by one spouse during the marriage and inheritances received by one spouse alone during the marriage.
If you received an inheritance during your marriage or if you anticipate one to come while your divorce is pending, you may be worried that you’ll have to give half to your spouse. “Is there any way my spouse could be entitled to a portion or half of my inheritance?” is a question that comes up occasionally.
Here’s the deal: If at any point during your marriage or divorce, you receive an inheritance, it shall remain as your separate property as long as you do not commingle it with marital funds. The best way to protect your inheritance is to deposit it into a separate bank account with only your name on it.
If you deposit the inheritance into a joint bank account or if you use it to pay off marital debt, it can become a marital asset and therefore subject to division in a divorce. So, to protect your financial interests, be sure to keep the inheritance separate and avoid using it to pay off marital debts. Otherwise, if it’s mixed with marital funds, it could become marital property and you may want to avoid that from happening.
If you have further questions about an inheritance or Texas’ community property laws and how they impact divorce, contact The Law Office of Gregory C. Goline, PLLC.