Jan 18, 2016

Posted by in Family Law | Comments Off on A Family Law Lawyer in Norfolk, VA Protects One Spouse’s Inheritance During a Divorce

A Family Law Lawyer in Norfolk, VA Protects One Spouse’s Inheritance During a Divorce

A Family Law Lawyer in Norfolk, VA Protects One Spouse’s Inheritance During a Divorce

A family law lawyer in Norfolk, VA can help a client who is about to get divorced and is worried about losing an inheritance. Virginia is not a community property state, meaning that the law does not view married couples as automatically sharing all their assets equally. If a divorcing couple cannot agree on how to split their assets, the court does it for them and attempts to make the division relatively equal. However, certain factors are taken into account that may designate some assets as separate instead of part of the marital property.

In general, real estate and other assets that someone owns before marriage are considered owned by that individual if the marriage ends, as long as the separate ownership had continued to be maintained. Assets acquired after marriage are considered shared property, although there are some exceptions. A gift of a new car to one of the individuals typically is considered separate property.

If one person receives an inheritance, that also is generally considered separate property. That does not necessarily stop the other spouse from trying to obtain some of the money in a divorce, however. There are various reasons that a judge may decide the inheritance has become marital rather than separate property.

The spouse who did not inherit the money could show that some of the inheritance was used for a combined purchase of real estate or an expensive recreational vehicle, in which case the court might decide that the entire inheritance had become a shared asset. Complex situations can result if one spouse inherits money and the other spouse successfully invests the money in the stock market or in real estate for a substantial profit, and the two share that profit. In a case like that, the court might decide the original amount of the inheritance actually has become marital property. Another complicated situation develops when one spouse inherits a business and the other spouse takes over management of the business and achieves substantial financial success with it.

Having a family law lawyer in Norfolk, VA for representation to protect an inheritance is essential if the other spouse is contesting asset division. A firm such as W. Ware Morrison Law Group is ready to provide skilled legal representation and counsel.

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