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Family Law

What happens to inheritance when I divorce?

Divorce and inheritance

What happens to?
The most commonly asked questions from couples separating or divorcing

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Going through a divorce is difficult for any couple, especially when it comes to dividing up assets. Past and future inheritances are often looked upon as a bolster in the family’s financial situation and many question if this will become part of the ‘marriage pot’ which is divided up on divorce. It also further complicates matters emotionally when sentimental value is attached to the assets inherited from loved ones and people become protective.

How are assets divided when I get divorced?

The starting point for the division of assets during a divorce is that property, earnings, pensions, business investments and money are all put into the ‘marriage pot’. The way the pot is divided is decided by the Judge on a case-by-case basis, depending on several factors such as the length of marriage, earning capacity and children for example.

What about my inheritance?

There are several factors that are considered when deciding if your inheritance will be placed in the pot. This could be when you got your inheritance, what you did with it when you were married and how much it is worth.

For example, if you used it to put down a deposit on your matrimonial home 20 years ago, it is likely that the inheritance has become a matrimonial asset and will be put into the pot. Sometimes, non-matrimonial assets become so intermingled with the parties’ other assets that it becomes impossible to distinguish them.

Past Inheritance

If you have kept your inheritance in a separate account and it has not been used during the marriage, there is a possibility it could be excluded, however in the event of a divorce, the needs of the family must be met. If there are several joint debts that cannot be paid off without it or one spouse cannot afford a property of their own, that money is likely to be used to meet these needs.

Future Inheritance

Future inheritances are not usually taken into account if they have not been received before the divorce settlement or are due in the near future, but it is vital to cut all financial ties from your spouse on divorce in order to stop this inheritance being affected by any future financial claims. As the final decision is up to the Judge, if there is a substantial inheritance sum expected, they may still consider this.

If you require additional advice on inheritance on divorce, please call us to make an appointment with one of our specialist solicitors.


If you would like further advice on this topic or any other family matters then please do not hesitate to contact our specialist and friendly Family Law team on 0191 2328451 or if you prefer, via email

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