Richmond, VA asked in Divorce for Virginia

Q: wife claims money she gained 10 yrs ago from life ins from her father is inheritance, is it

she is unwilling to show bank acct, stating she does not have to...

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2 Lawyer Answers

Wayne E. Holcomb

  • Yorktown/Newport News, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: If the money came from her father's life insurance policy, and she has kept it in a separate account and has not co-mingled it into joint accounts for example, it is most likely her separate property. So, I suppose she would not have to show it to you because it is most likely hers alone and not marital property.

Michael Christopher Miller

  • Vienna, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Va. Code § 20-107.3 has your answers.

So, start with the proposition that "2. Marital property is (i) all property titled in the names of both parties, whether as joint tenants, tenants by the entirety or otherwise, except as provided by subdivision A 3, (ii) that part of any property classified as marital pursuant to subdivision A 3, or (iii) all other property acquired by each party during the marriage which is not separate property as defined above." If she got the inheritance during the marriage, it is presumed to be marital unless she shows that it is separate.

"1. Separate property is (i) all property, real and personal, acquired by either party before the marriage; (ii) all property acquired during the marriage by bequest, devise, descent, survivorship or gift from a source other than the other party; (iii) all property acquired during the marriage in exchange for or from the proceeds of sale of separate property, provided that such property acquired during the marriage is maintained as separate property; and (iv) that part of any property classified as separate pursuant to subdivision A 3." So, she would have to demonstrate item (ii) that the monies came from bequest, . . ..

She also has to maintain the separate property separately. If she commingled with other monies, it may have lost its separate classification.

In the course of litigation, you can issue discovery to her pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules of Virginia Supreme Court to produce the documents supporting her separate claim.

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