What’s mine is mine and yours is yours. That simple adage would seem to apply when it comes to dividing marital assets during a divorce. But that is not always the case. When considering Ohio divorce laws, someone may wonder whether their spouse is entitled to inheritance money, or whether they have a claim to their spouses’. Read below to better understand inheritance and divorce in Ohio and how to protect your inheritance from your spouse in divorce.
Ohio Inheritance Laws
As more people marry later in life, they are bringing in wealth, whether by inheritance or otherwise, into the marriage. State laws determine what property is marital and what property is separate. Any property acquired before marriage is “separate property,” meaning it is not subject to division in a divorce. After marriage, only certain categories of property can be claimed as “separate.” Inheritance is one such exception.
Ohio inheritance law defines inheritance as one such category of separate property. A court may consider the resources in each spouse or parent’s possession when it awards spousal or child support. But, the assets themselves are not subject to division in the divorce.
How to Protect Your Inheritance from Your Spouse in Divorce
Maintain the separate nature of inheritance money to protect your inheritance from your spouse in divorce. Essentially, you want to avoid comingling them with other assets. For example, do not deposit the funds into a joint account or deposit other marital funds into the inheritance account. And do not use inheritance money for regular spending, then replenish the account balance. This can be problematic for a separate property claim. That is because inheritance money must be “traceable” to prove to a court that it is separate property. So, when considering Ohio inheritance and divorce, inheritance money must be identifiable. You must be able to prove the inheritance, or asset purchased with the inheritance, maintained its separate nature from the rest of the marital assets.
Summarizing Ohio Inheritance and Divorce Laws
Essentially, Ohio inheritance and divorce laws state that inheritance may no longer be considered separate property if it is used in a way that benefits joint marital assets. Or, if it is used in a way that cannot be separated out from the rest of an asset’s value. So, inheritance may be divided as part of the divorce settlement in either of these scenarios.
Protecting Your Inheritance Before Getting Divorce in Ohio
It is not always easy to determine what each spouse keeps when it comes to inheritance and divorce in Ohio. So, if you own significant pre-marital assets, it might be wise to sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married. An ideal prenup clearly identifies ownership of any pre-marital assets and how you would treat any future inheritance.
Another option is to keep any inheritance in a separate account instead of comingling them in joint marital accounts or spending them on joint marital expenses. This may help you claim it as separate property and make it easier to identify in a divorce.
Contact Us Regarding Inheritance and Divorce in Ohio
The Cleveland lawyers with Manning & Clair Attorneys at Law have extensive experience in family law and understand what you may be going through. The decisions you make now can impact your life for years to come. So, we promise to offer you compassion during this tough time, as well as expert legal advice that protect your interests and help you reach a resolution. Please contact us to gather expert advice now.
Note: Consider this information a general overview and discussion of the subject. It is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any specific situation. Please consult our Cleveland attorneys for advice about your individual situation.