During a Tennessee divorce, courts are typically only able to divide marital property between soon-to-be exes, i.e., property acquired by either spouse during marriage. However, Tennessee law considers an inheritance as separate property, meaning it belongs only to the inheriting spouse, regardless of when he or she received it.
It is important to point out, however, that just because an inheritance starts out as separate property does not mean your actions cannot transform it into marital property. For instance, if you inherit a significant amount of money, and you decide to commingle this money in a joint bank account with your spouse or spend it on fixing up a jointly owned home, a court may no longer consider the entire inheritance as separate property.
Alternatively, if you go to great lengths to make sure your inheritance maintains its status as separate property, the court may award you fewer assets during divorce, especially since one factor courts consider when dividing marital property is the amount of separate property owned by either spouse.
At the Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC, we are well-aware of the various factors that may impact your inheritance during a Tennessee divorce. Whether you wish to protect your inheritance or, conversely, are concerned that your actions have already put your inheritance at risk, our attorneys can help explain your rights and legal options.
For personalized, knowledgeable legal guidance, contact the Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC. With lawyers licensed in both Tennessee and Mississippi, we serve divorce clients throughout the Memphis area and North Mississippi. You can email us online or call our Germantown office at 901-537-0010. Do not delay, contact us as soon as possible.
Other Types Of Separate Property
Importantly, there are many other types of separate property besides inheritances ― and all of them are protected from division upon divorce. These often include:
- Property owned by either spouse before getting married, including real estate and personal property
- Appreciation of, and income derived from, property owned by either spouse before marriage
- Property acquired after marriage, but obtained in exchange for property owned before marriage
If you have questions about divorce and its effect on your property, including your inheritance, a divorce attorney from the Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC, is here to provide you with answers.