How are inheritance, gifts & trusts divided in a Connecticut divorce action?
In a Connecticut divorce action, the Superior Court has the authority to allocate inheritances and gifts that have been received to either party regardless of the source. In determining whether a party should retain his or her inheritance or gift, judges utilize a fairness test, and look to numerous factors, including when the gift or inheritance was received, its past and current value, how it was used (if at all) during the marriage, whether it was held by one or both of the parties, and the reason the inheritance or gift was received.
In a dissolution of marriage action, “property” refers to a presently existing, enforceable right to receive income from the other party. Thus, a mere expectation of a future inheritance does not qualify as “property” and is generally not considered part of the marital estate. In the case of Rubin v. Rubin, where the husband’s status as a possible residuary beneficiary under his mother’s revocable trust and will was deemed a “mere expectancy,” the court determined that his possible future inheritance should not have been the subject of a court order as the husband’s “hope” to receive money in the future was not divisible or assignable by a court. Rubin v. Rubin, 204 Conn. 224, 230-31 (1987). Of course, divorcing parties may always enter into voluntary agreements about future inheritances as a way to achieve equity in the division of property, and this type of provision often bridges the gap of an otherwise difficult settlement.
If you have any questions, contact Joseph Maya, Managing Partner at Maya Murphy, at (203) 221-3100 or directly via email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com for a complimentary consultation with an experienced Divorce Lawyer to discuss your case.