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Will I keep my inheritance in a Florida divorce?

Generally speaking, you will get to keep an inheritance if it's given to you when you are married and then you later get divorced. While standard income is typically thought of as belonging to the couple -- making it marital property -- inheritance money is typically thought of as belonging to just one person: The person to whom it was left.

The idea here is that your spouse did not have anything to do with your getting the inheritance. While money that you earned may have been made possible in part by your spouse -- if your spouse stays home with the kids while you work, for example -- money that is given to you by an older relative would have been given to you no matter what, even if you'd never met your spouse.

That being said, you can override this rule by commingling your money with your spouse's money. This typically happens if you use the money for expenses that you both have -- like paying the mortgage -- or you put the money into a joint bank account, giving your spouse equal ownership. In cases like this, the court could rule that you gave up your individual right to the money, sharing it with your spouse, so he or she now has a legal claim to it. If you want to keep your own claim, put the money in a different account and only use it for your own purchases.

The money may also be split up if you live in a community property state, but Florida does not use community property laws, so you have no need to worry about that.

Splitting up assets can be tricky. Be sure you know how the law impacts your money.

Source: FindLaw, "Inheritance and Divorce," accessed July 15, 2016

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