Chicago, IL asked in Divorce and Real Estate Law for Missouri

Q: Does inherited property get split in a divorce?

I inherited two properties when my parents passed away. My husband is wanting a divorce, and says he is going to try to take away one of the properties. If the properties were inherited to me are they subject to division during the divorce? We were married when I inherited the property.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jennifer L. Rench
Jennifer L. Rench
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: Property that is inherited by one spouse - even during the marriage - is specifically excluded from what is defined as "marital property" in Missouri and is not subject to division. However, this isn't usually the end of the conversation.

It is possible to convert separate (non-marital) property, or even just a portion of the separate property, to marital property and this is dependent on what has happened with the property since you acquired it. When you inherited it, how did you title the property? Have you invested marital money into the property? Is there a loan on the property that you have paid with marital money? Have you made improvements to the property with marital money? There are lots of other questions an attorney would ask to see if the property remained separate.

Your attorney should also be asking if the properties that you inherited are income producing. Missouri courts have also held that income earned during the marriage is marital, even if it is income earned from separate property. This may not affect the division of the property itself, but it is something I find that clients don't realize and it can play into the overall financial picture of a case.

I would strongly encourage you to consult with an attorney in your area. If you will be filing divorce in St. Louis, St. Charles or the surrounding areas feel free to call me at 314-725-4000.

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