Keeping It In The Family: Divorce And Inheritance

Author:Ms Jolene Hutchison
Profession:Blaser Mills
 
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We have surveyed over 2000 people to find out their views on divorce proceedings. When it comes to inheritance, it seems people feel very differently about assets inherited before marriage and those inherited during marriage.

Nearly two-thirds of people (64%) feel that assets inherited before marriage should not be included in a divorce settlement – this is even more pronounced among women, where the figure sits at 71%.

For assets inherited during a marriage, a much smaller proportion of people (39%) feel that they should not be included in a settlement.

How does the law treat inherited wealth in a divorce settlement?

When a marriage breaks down, if one of the couple's inherited assets are needed to provide for the family in the future, then the Court can order them to be included in a settlement. Despite what people told us in our survey, this applies equally to wealth inherited before or during a marriage. Decisions on these issues are always dependent on the individual facts of a case – there are no hard and fast rules. In short, how the Court treats inherited assets is a hugely grey area and each result will depend on the facts of the individual case, driven by what a family needs.

Our figures indicate that on the whole...

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