Georgia divorce law provides, in general, that all property acquired during the marriage as the result of the efforts of the parties is marital property that is subject to equitable division between the parties. However, certain types of property, including an inheritance that was specifically received just by one spouse, normally qualify as non-marital property. This means that the property is not subject to division in the event of a divorce.
Gifts or inheritances, when received by one spouse either prior to or during the marriage, do not constitute marital property under Georgia divorce law. This means that one spouse would have no claim to the other spouse’s inheritance, even if it is substantial and was received during the parties’ marriage. The only exception is if a spouse converts his or her inheritance from non-marital property to marital property. For instance, if the spouse who received the inheritance deposits it into a joint bank account with his or her spouse, thus combining it with marital assets, the inheritance is likely to be considered a marital asset. Similarly, if the spouse uses the inheritance to purchase real estate that is titled in both of the parties’ names, which both parties continue to contribute to financially for the duration of their marriage, there is a strong argument that the inheritance has changed into marital property.
This logic also applies to an inheritance that one spouse brings to the marriage. Unless the spouse receiving the inheritance keeps that inheritance completely separate throughout the marriage, he or she risks converting it to marital property. One way to maintain its status as non-marital property would be to keep it segregated from other funds in a separate account titled solely in the name of the inheriting spouse.
An Atlanta divorce lawyer at Shaw Law Firm LLC can help advise you about the difference between marital and separate property, as well as how your marital property is likely to be equitably divided, including an inheritance received by either party.
Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.
Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.