Divorce With Respect

Can I get back the inheritance I used during the marriage?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2021 | Divorce |

During the marriage, you might have used inherited funds to acquire a marital home or other property. In which case, you might be wondering if you are entitled to a reimbursement for that contribution?

Separate Property

Under California law, inheritances are considered the separate property of the receiving spouse. Separate property also includes assets and debts acquired prior to marriage, after the date of separation, or by gift. This is contrasted with community property, which is all property that is not separate property, that is acquired between the date of marriage and the date of separation.


When separate property money or items of value were used to acquire property (real or personal property) during the marriage, there might be a right of reimbursement if it was not intended as a gift and the money can be traced back to the separate property source. This separate property contribution could have been a down payment on a house, renovations, paying down the principal on a mortgage, or a new vehicle.

But if separate property money was just used for community purposes during the marriage, such as vacations and household expenses, then it could be considered a gift unless there were an agreement to the contrary, and you would not be entitled to a reimbursement.

Reimbursement expires

Reimbursement rights must be exercised during the divorce process. If you believe you are entitled to a reimbursement, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for getting your inheritance funds back.