Upon Richard's divorce, will he get half of house his wife inherited?


Richard: Yes. I’m considering – looks like I may have to get a divorce. I’m trying to figure out what is considered community property. I’ve been married six years and my wife just come in to get a – she got a house, but it wasn’t through an estate, it was just some money that her aunt gave her. When we split up, who gets the house? Do both of us get to split it up or does she get it or what?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Is the house in just her name or both your names?

Richard: I don’t really know. 

Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay. 

Richard: My name is not – I know it’s in hers. 

Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay. So, Richard, you told me that your wife inherited some cash, she turned around and with that cash bought a house, put that house in her name only.

Richard: Right.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Richard, it is very clear under Florida Law that she’s going to leave with that house, you do not have any equity in that house. Do you have any other questions about your divorce?

Richard: I… 

Attorney Tom Olsen: All right Richard, so here’s what I’m going to tell you, Paul Newnum, he is our family law divorce attorney, he is available to you right now. Richard you can hang up with me, call Paul Newnum, our family law divorce attorney, at our office right now, (407) 423-5561. That’s (407) 423-5561.
So folks, I want to expand on that for just a minute. Florida Law is very clear that what you inherit is yours to keep if you get divorced, with these qualifiers: if you inherit something and you keep that asset in your name only – whether it’s cash or you buy a house or a property or stocks – it’s yours to keep; if you inherit cash and you turn around and you take that and put it into joint names with you and your spouse, you get divorced and the spouse is going to order that you gifted him or her one half of that cash and they’ll probably be successful. Okay? So a lot of my clients are concerned, “Tom, I’m doing a will with you and I’m leaving everything to my kids. I want to make sure, if my kids get divorced, that their spouses don’t get half of our wealth.” Well, I say, “Tell your kids Tom Olsen said, when they inherit wealth from you, keep that wealth in their name only, do not put it into an asset that is owned by them and their spouse.” The other qualifier is this, is that is they inherited $100,000 and they bought a house for $100,000, they kept it in their name only, but over the years that house increased in value to $110,000 during the marriage, that $10,000 gain might be subject to being divided or equaled up by the divorce court. Maybe. So those are the lessons that you need to know. I think most people are aware of it.