When a marriage or de facto relationship breaks down, the ties between property settlement and divorce can be difficult to disentangle. Many clients approach us asking whether their inheritance may be lost in settlement proceedings, and while the short answer is often a “yes”, there is a range of circumstances for the Court to consider – and for the couple to consider in negotiations with their divorce lawyers – before any settlement is final. Take a look at the following example for guidance.
Example: Can I Lose My Inheritance to My Ex in Divorce Proceedings?
I inherited $250,000 just before separating from my wife, who I have been married to for 15 years. We have 3 children. We are now disputing the division of property and assets. Is my inheritance included in the property dispute?
In the above scenario, the answer is “yes” – the husband’s inheritance is included in the property dispute. However, the Court may deal with the inheritance in different ways.
How Does the Court Deal with Property Settlement Disputes?
To avoid costly litigation and try to reach a favourable outcome for both parties, the first step to property settlement is negotiation. This is usually done with the help of divorce lawyers or family lawyers. Antunes Lawyers family lawyers in Sydney are happy to help you negotiate disputes over divorce settlements with your ex-partner.
It is important for you to be aware of how the Court could deal with your inheritance if negotiations fail. The Court has a wide discretion in family law property matters. It could consider the inheritance in a separate “pool” to the other assets of the marriage. In this case, your spouse’s probable nil contribution to the assets in the “inheritance pool” would be a submission to the Court. The Court may decide that the inheritance is in a different asset pool to other assets and consider the different contributions in each asset pool and arrive at a different percentage split between those asset pools.
How Can Divorce Lawyers Help?
The important thing to remember is that each case is different and the Court must assess the nature, form and extent of the contributions of all types made by you and your ex-spouse within the context of an analysis of your relationship. A considered analysis and strategic presentation of your case can make a significant difference to the outcome. At Antunes Lawyers, our divorce lawyers in Sydney can help you present a measured, strategic case to protect your inheritance from an ex-partner.