Is my inheritance considered marital property?
According to the New Hampshire divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, marital property includes anything and everything owned by either of the parties. This includes homes titled in only one party’s name, retirement funds, and yes, even inherited funds or property. It does not matter when (even if the property was purchased or received prior to the marriage) or how the property was purchased. Everything goes into the pot to be divided.
New Hampshire Divorce Law
The definition of marital property is found in New Hampshire law at RSA 458:16-a, which states:
Property shall include all tangible and intangible property and assets, real or personal, belonging to either or both parties, whether title to the property is held in the name of either or both parties. Intangible property includes, but is not limited to, employment benefits, vested and non-vested pension or other retirement benefits, or savings plans. To the extent permitted by federal law, property shall include military retirement and veterans’ disability benefits.
New Hampshire Supreme Court Decision
More particularly, the New Hampshire Supreme Court specifically addressed inheritances in its decision In the Matter of Henry and Henry, writing:
To the extent that the respondent asserts that the trial court erred as a matter of law by dividing assets that the respondent inherited from his parents during the marriage, we disagree. By statute, marital property subject to equitable distribution “shall include all tangible and intangible property and assets, real or personal, belonging to either or both parties, whether title to the property is held in the name of either or both parties.” [citation omitted]. This statutory definition of marital property subject to equitable distribution does not exclude inherited property “belonging to either or both parties.” [citation omitted]
Dividing marital property “equitably” vs. “equally”
However, just because all funds, interests, and property belonging to either party can be divided by the court, it doesn’t mean the court will do so. The New Hampshire divorce attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law know that state law allows the court to divide marital property “equitably” and equitably does not always mean “equally.” The courts have wide discretion to deviate from an equal distribution based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the age of the parties, the length of the marriage, and the earning capacity of the parties. Every division is based on the particular facts and circumstances of the marriage being dissolved.
For questions about divorce, contact the New Hampshire divorce attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman today
The New Hampshire divorce attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law would be pleased to discuss your matter with you and be your partner throughout the process. Our firm is experienced and prepared to deal with any situation that may arise. For a free consultation, please feel free to call us at (603) 210-4464, send us an email to info@MZLawNH.com, or reach out to us using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.
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