Not all divorces are created equal. Some are relatively straightforward with few assets to be divided, no children to fight over, and the parties agreeing on just about every legal issue. Others, though, are knock down, drag-out fights where each party has to be as aggressive as possible to protect his or her best interests. This is often the case in a high-asset divorce where there is a lot at stake and the outcome can have significant ramifications for years to come.
One of the key parts of a high-asset divorce is property division. With so many financial resources at stake, both parties to one of these divorces can find themselves concerned about how to retain or obtain a fair share of marital assets. This leads to the first step in the high-asset divorce property division process: determining which assets are in fact marital in nature.
Generally speaking, property that is obtained prior to marriage is deemed separate from the marital estate and is therefore exempt from property division during the marriage dissolution process. Yet, there are times when property acquired after marriage remains separate from marital assets. The biggest amongst these is an inheritance. These influxes of cash and property belong solely to the individual who inherits them, meaning that a spouse cannot later claim entitlement to a fair share of them. However, if inheritances are commingled with marital property, then they may become part of the marital estate and thus subjected to property division in the event of divorce.
So, it is crucial that those who are expecting an inheritance carefully plan out how they are going to handle it so that they protect themselves later down the road. Likewise, those who have inherited property or money and are now facing divorce may want to speak with a qualified legal professional who can help them craft the legal arguments they need to retain their assets.