The Role of Inheritances in Determining Alimony Payments

Pasadena divorce lawyers are often asked questions regarding the role of inheritance in deciding alimony. Although inheritances are not generally considered community property when dividing assets, they can be a factor in alimony awards.

An expected inheritance is not used in deciding alimony awards. The logic behind this is simple: you can't count on actually receiving any of this money. The person planning to leave you the inheritance might require expensive end of life care that would deplete his or her assets. Or, there might be a family falling out and the will might be changed to either disinherit you entirely or to lower the overall amount of money you could receive.

If one person in the case has already received an inheritance, however, this can affect an alimony award. An inheritance, especially if it is a large inheritance, can produce ongoing income that can be used to meet overall expenses. If the lower earning spouse receives an inheritance, he or she would have more money to be self supporting and thus have less of a need for alimony. If the higher earning spouse receives the inheritance, he or she would have more money to provide financial support for the lower earning spouse.

If you are currently divorced and receiving an alimony award set as the result of a court order, receiving an inheritance could trigger a modification of the award. Depending upon the size of the award, you might no longer be considered a dependent spouse. If you are currently paying alimony and receive an inheritance, your ex could ask for an increase in spousal support if he or she can demonstrate additional financial need.

When a Pasadena divorce involves a party who has received an inheritance, it is important to choose an attorney who has previous experience dealing with these types of cases. The laws regarding inherited assets are complex, so a skilled attorney is needed to make sure your legal rights are protected.

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