Can I use inherited money to buy a house prior to divorce?

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Can I use inherited money to buy a house prior to divorce?

Can I use inheritance which is in my name only, to purchase a house before I have filed for divorce? I don’t want the new house to be considered joint property. Should I speak with a divorce attorney? In Arapahoe County, CO.

Asked on September 13, 2010 under Family Law, Colorado

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In a divorce, non-marital property is awarded to the party owning it as long as it has not been transferred into co-ownership with the spouse. Inherited property owned individually is not marital property. However, to the extent that your spouse adds value to the home in some way, they can share in the appreciation. Additionally, if a mortgage is taken out and your spouse helps to pay for it they may be entitled to reimbursement of any amounts (plus interest). Finally, if a clear accounting cannot be made of the property (for example, your inheritance is "co-mingled" (mixed) with marital property and then you but the house), this separate property can be transformed into marital property.

Bottom line, you should wait until after the divorce to purchase any property (in fact before making any major purchases). And whether or not you purchase now, keep your inheritance separate from marital funds, etc. You really should consult with a divorce attorney at this point.


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