In Connecticut, couples who are getting a divorce must also divide their marital assets. However, if one individual has received an inheritance or gift from a family member, it may be unclear whether that will be divided between the two as well.
The first question regarding the gift is whether or not it is a gift or a loan. Sometimes, a couple may receive a loan that they do not use immediately, and this may appear to be a gift. It is best to be sure that any significant gift or loan includes paperwork explaining whether the asset is a gift or a loan and the terms of any loan.
However, neither an inheritance nor a gift will be considered as marital property if it has been kept separate from other marital property. In other words, if an individual inherited $10,000 and placed it into a joint savings account, that would be considered marital property. If that individual kept the money in their own savings account, it would be considered separate property. Other assets that would be considered separate property in these circumstances include property owned before the marriage or after the separation, payments from certain types of lawsuits and property specified in agreements between the two spouses.
Since Connecticut is an equitable distribution state, property division is done in a fair and equitable way, but this does not mean property will be split in half as it would be in a community property state. Therefore, even if an individual had an inheritance in a joint account, it might not be exactly split between the two. Individuals wishing to preserve their inheritance in a similar situation may wish to speak with a family law attorney.
Source: Forbes , “Divorcing Women: Here’s How to Protect Your Inheritances And Gifts“, Jeff Landers, August 19, 2014