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Michigan Family Law Blog

What Happens to an Inheritance in a Divorce in Michigan?

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Mar 07, 2024 | 0 Comments

Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash

Going through a divorce will most likely have some effect on nearly every aspect of your life.  This includes not only your finances and savings but potentially how much time you will get to spend with your children.  One issue that often comes up is "what will happen to an inheritance in a divorce/"  This blog is intended to only generally address this subject, if you have specific questions about your situation, please do not hesitate to contact us online by clicking this link or calling (248) 608-4123.

Is an Inheritance Considered Separate Property in a Michigan Divorce?

The answer to he question of what happens to property inherited by one of the spouses depends on a number of factors.  To discuss this issue, I have to first address how the courts in Michigan typically address the division of property in general.  First the court must categorize the property as marital or separate.  If the property is marital then the parties will roughly equally divide the asset, if the property is separate, then it is typically awarded to one party without any offset from other property.

Generally speaking, inheritances are considered the separate property of the person that inherited that property.  However, the inheritor must keep that property separate and not mix it in with any other property or add to it with other assets.  If the inheritor fails to keep the property separate or otherwise maintain its separate nature, then that property is said to have been "commingled".  Commingling of marital assets with separate property causes it to lose its separate nature and it becomes marital property that is subject to division.

In addition there are two statutes in Michigan which would allow a divorce court to invade the separate property of one spouse.  The statutes may apply where the division of the marital property and alimony are not sufficient to support the other spouse or where the other spouse contributed to the separate property's acquisition or accumulation of value.  This means that even if the inheritance is kept separate, there may be a chance that the court could award some of the inheritance to the other spouse.

If you or your spouse is considering a divorce and you have questions regarding the process, please contact us either online or by calling (248) 608-4123 to schedule a consultation.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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