Many people feel that love and money do not mix. Yet when you marry, your personal relationship almost always becomes linked with your finances. That does not usually present a problem unless you end up getting divorced.
Dividing marital property is difficult, especially if it involves an inheritance. An inheritance often has more of an emotional component than other assets. Inherited items and money are not merely figures on a page, they feel like a family legacy. Just as there are ways to protect an inheritance during bankruptcy, there may also be ways to protect it during divorce.
Many financial and legal professionals recommend prenuptial agreements to couples entering marriage with vastly different financial situations. You may want to consider a prenuptial agreement if you have inherited money recently, or if an inheritance seems imminent. It may seem unromantic, but a prenuptial agreement can give you an added layer of financial protection.
Keep money separate
Avoid putting inherited money in joint accounts. Instead, open new accounts in your name only. Florida is not a community property state. According to Florida law, “assets acquired separately” during a marriage are not marital property. This means that money given solely to you, such as an inheritance, should remain yours. However, this changes if you use the money as a couple. Examples include making improvements to your marital home or purchasing a vehicle that you register in both your names.
Negotiate during the divorce process
Your spouse likely realizes this money is yours. In an amicable divorce, you may be able to appeal to your spouse’s sense of fairness. However, the grief and anger of divorce may cause a normally reasonable spouse to become obstinate. In that case, you may want to negotiate. Perhaps you can retain the family antiques or vintage car collection in exchange for full ownership of your luxury SUV or extra equity in the marital home. In the end, you may need legal help to fight for your inheritance.