Does My Ex Have Any Right to an Inheritance I Received After our Divorce?

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After the divorce, I received an inheritance and now my ex wants part of it. Does she have any legal right to it?

Wisconsin divorce attorney Anne Scipior
Wisconsin divorce attorney Anne Scipior


Generally, unless there is a court order telling you that you have to make a payment to your ex, you are under no obligation to do so. If by “ex” you mean someone that you are legally divorced from, then most likely, the division of all of your assets and debts occurred at the time of divorce and in most states, she would have no right to property acquired after the divorce, including inherited money or personal property received after the divorce.

In Wisconsin, where I practice, even money or personal property received through inheritance during the marriage can be excluded from the property division at divorce as long as the inherited funds are not “co-mingled” with marital funds.

That said, in Wisconsin, for example, if you are paying child support or alimony (known as maintenance in some states) then these payments could be affected if you inherit money or assets. In other words, your ex could possibly have a claim that if you inherited a large sum of money, you now have more money available for child support or alimony. If this is her argument, you are most likely under no obligation to increase what you’re paying because of your inheritance until she files something with the court and there is a court order requiring you to take a certain action.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than general tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws of your state and how they impact your case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Wisconsin divorce lawyer Anne C. Scipior, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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