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How to Protect Your Inheritance in a Texas Divorce

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At the Law Offices of Stephen Clark, our Dallas divorce attorneys aim to help our clients achieve a fair and amicable settlement in their Texas divorce. Unfortunately, most divorces require months of litigation, and still end up in frayed emotions, lost time and money, and with one or both parties unsatisfied with the outcome. Divorce is complicated enough, which is why our legal professionals always recommend our clients sign a prenuptial agreement before they say, 'I do'-especially when there is a family inheritance at stake. At the very least, a prenuptial agreement can eliminate the stress of the division of assets aspect of divorce, and allow each party to maintain reasonable expectations throughout the entire process.

Is an Inheritance Considered a Marital Asset?

While most individuals never expect their marriage to end in divorce, time changes people, and after years together, one or both parties may find that they are no longer compatible. When this happens, separation is often inevitable. Unfortunately, when two individuals have built their life together, their assets become entangled, making it difficult for the parties to figure out what they get to leave the marriage with. According to the Texas Family Code, Chapter 4, Section 4.003, a prenuptial agreement in Texas is a premarital agreement between two parties that outlines how exactly marital property is to be divided in a divorce, and what property is to remain the sole and separate property of each individual.

Oftentimes, one or both spouses will receive an inheritance from a deceased loved one during the duration of their marriage. Typically, a family inheritance-whether it be in the form of a house, money, or another asset-is used towards the common good of the receiving family. An inherited house may become a family home, and inherited money may be used towards familial obligations and luxuries. Because of this, it may be difficult for either party to argue than an inheritance is anything but a marital asset.

However, sometimes a judge can be persuaded to deem an inheritance a separate asset. If the beneficiary can persuade the courts that if not for them, the inherited asset would not have been brought into the marriage in the first place, then the judge may make a departure from the equal division rule and declare an inheritance 'separate property.'

Protect Your Inheritance with a Premarital Contract

Unless an inheritance is strictly used for the recipient's benefit, chances are it will be designated a marital asset in divorce. Because of this, it is beneficial for two joining parties to lay the groundwork for what is to be done with inheritances in the event of divorce.

The bottom line is that whether you bring a large inheritance into the marriage, or you plan to inherit a large sum of money or assets in the future, you should always enter into a premarital contract.

At the Clark Law Group, our divorce attorneys can assist you in the creation of a sound and legally binding prenuptial agreement. While it may be uncomfortable to approach the subject of a premarital contract with your spouse-to-be, doing so will save a lot of time and headache down the road, should you two decide to part ways. To consult with a Dallas divorce attorney regarding prenuptial agreements, contact our law firm at 469-906-2266 today.

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