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If, during your marriage, you receive an inheritance from a family member or a bequest from anyone else, you might expect that it would be yours to keep should you get divorced. That expectation might be a reasonable one to hold in some states, but because Connecticut law applies the concept of equitable distribution, you would be way off the mark. In Connecticut, all assets received by either spouse during the course of a marriage are considered marital property and thus are subject to division in a divorce action. If you are concerned about preventing the loss of part of your inheritance, trust a Westport divorce attorney at Needle | Cuda to safeguard your rights. For decades, we have successfully litigated asset division to help our clients retain more of their wealth. We are prepared to fight for a truly equitable result in your case.
Connecticut applies the concept of equitable distribution to property acquired during a marriage, which means that courts divide assets and debts in a manner that is fair but not necessarily equal. The courts rely on the Connecticut statutes to determine what is fair. Under Connecticut’s equitable distribution scheme, how an asset was acquired is a factor a court considers when determining what is fair. An inheritance received by one spouse may be regarded as an asset that will not be divided equally because neither party contributed to the acquisition of the inheritance
Connecticut law does not draw a hard line between separate property and marital property and has a broad definition of marital property. The Connecticut General Statutes explicitly state that “the Superior Court may assign to either spouse all or any part of the estate of the other spouse.”
The question is, what factors will a court consider in the determination of the division of an inheritance?
Connecticut law requires a judge conducting equitable distribution to consider a range of factors, including:
The best way to keep your inheritance after divorce is to protect it ahead of time. One method is to state in a prenuptial agreement that any future inheritance will be treated as separate property not subject to distribution. If you are already married, you can execute a postnuptial agreement including the same provision. You can also place the property in a family trust, with instructions for distribution in the event of divorce. A Westport divorce lawyer at our firm can explain the full range of options for fully protecting your inheritance.
Needle | Cuda helps divorce clients in lower Fairfield County and throughout Connecticut protect asset obtained via inheritance. Our reputable attorneys provide highly responsive service and effective representation focused on positive results. Please call 203-429-4151 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at our Westport office.