Can Inherited Assets be Protected in a New Jersey Divorce?

When a divorce takes place, there are a variety of matters that need to be settled. One of the more complex ones is the division of assets between both parties. Throughout the proceedings, the court will examine the assets the couple has together and separately in order to split them. This is done based on the process of equitable distribution. Spouses in these situations often wonder what assets they will be able to keep, especially if one of them was given an inheritance through a trust. Continue reading below to learn more and contact an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney. 

Can Inherited Assets be Subject to Equitable Distribution?

During a divorce, the court divides a couple’s assets through equitable distribution. This does not mean the assets are divided evenly, but fairly. To determine what is fair, the court will establish which assets are marital property and which are separate property. Marital property is assets that are inherited throughout the marriage. Separate property is assets that are inherited beforehand unless converted into marital property. Under New Jersey law, inherited assets are exempt from equitable distribution, as it is considered separate property. This means it cannot be distributed to the other spouse in a divorce. 

However, there is an exception to this situation. If an inherited asset is mixed together with a marital asset, it can no longer be exempt. For example, if a spouse deposits an inheritance into a joint account with their partner, it is no longer exempt from equitable distribution. Also, if the inheritance produces an income or any growth, it may be subject to equitable distribution.

Can an Inheritance be Used for Support?

It is important to know that, which inherited assets can be immune from equitable distribution, there are other situations where it can be used. This may be the case for purposes of support, such as alimony or even child support in the event that the couple has children together. 

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If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Paone, Zaleski & Murphy to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.