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Question 1:    I inherited money from a family member.  Is my spouse entitled to half of this inheritance?

Answer 1:      The short answer is yes.  In Indiana, all assets brought to the marriage and all assets accumulated during the course of the marriage, no matter the source of that asset came or how that asset is titled, is subject to division.  Inheritance is no different.  If the inheritance was accumulated during the course of the marriage, and prior to the filing of a divorce, even though it may only be titled in one spouses’ name, it is considered a marital asset.  However, the court will consider several factors in determining what an equitable division of property may look like in any case.  An inherited asset is indeed taken into consideration in determining how to distribute property.  It may be that the inherited asset is in theory equally divided, depending on the rest of the marital estate, particularly if the inherited asset has been used to pay down marital debts throughout the course of the marriage.  In other cases, the inherited assets may not necessarily be equally divided.  Bottom line, unless there is a pre-nuptial agreement excluding an inheritance, then that asset is included as a marital asset subject to division by the court, just as a jointly titled asset would be.


Question 2:    I am going through a divorce. How long will it take?

Answer 2:      Legally, an Indiana court cannot divorce you earlier than 60 days after one spouse files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Beyond the 60-day mark, each case is different. Certain factors, such as whether children are involved, whether marital assets and debts are known to both parties; and the size and extent of the marital estate can greatly impact the time it can take for a divorce to be finalized. Additionally, parties who can agree on some or all issues incident to divorce are more likely to experience a quicker legal process than those who require Court intervention. There is no legal requirement that a divorce matter be finalized in a certain time frame.