I have just received an inheritance from my family, is my ex-spouse entitled to any of it?
Inheritances are not a “protected category” in family law matters.This means that an inheritance received by one party will be considered by the Court in determining what is a “fair” division of assets.
If you become entitled to an inheritance , your inheritance may be taken into account in your family law matter.
In a family law matter, an inheritance may form part of the pool of assets or be seen as a financial resource.
If your inheritance is deemed as your asset, then it is subject to division pursuant to Section 79 of the Family Law Act 1975. The inheritance can also be considered as your direct financial contribution to the overall pool of assets.
If your inheritance is characterised as a financial resource, then it will not be subject to division but will still be considered when determining each of the parties future prospects or future needs pursuant to Section 75(2)(o) of the Family Law Act 1975.
The Court will also consider:
when the inheritance 'vested' (was it during the relationship, later in the relationship or following separation?)
the length of your relationship with your former spouse
the size of the asset pool
other factors set out in the Family Law Act 1975.
This advise applies in relation to the treatment of inheritance in your family law matter with your former spouse. Your former spouse may have a separate claim against the estate of the deceased directly in some cases.