My wife inherited $800K. She put $300K toward our mortgage and $500K in her own bank account — after 35 years of marriage – About Your Online Magazine


Dear Quentin,

I have been married for 35 years.

My wife is going to inherit $ 800,000 and told me that she will use $ 300,000 to pay our mortgage. The house is worth $ 450,000. But she will put the remaining $ 500,000 into her personal checking account.

I am 65 years old and still working. I earn $ 130,000 a year and plan to continue working for another five years, as long as I am in good health.

My wife retired two years ago at age 59, after working for 13 years, earning $ 20,000 a year. Most of the time, she stayed at home and helped raise our two children, who are now adults with their own jobs.

My wife receives a small pension and I will also have a pension. We don’t have savings, we don’t have 401 (k), nothing. I paid for my children’s college education. We only have one car. I have a credit card debt of almost $ 80,000. My wife has a credit card debt of $ 2,800.

What do you think of the way she treated her inheritance? If we get divorced, will I have to pay her child support?

I’ve been working since I was 16

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions at qfottrell@marketwatch.com.

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Dear Working,

Do not allow your frustration with this heritage OR the fact that you have been working since the age of 16 to force you to do something rash. His wife used more than a third of that money to pay for their joint mortgage. Inheritances are not considered community property, so it is clearly taking time to decide what to do with them. While this may seem like a slap in the face after 35 years of marriage, she has the legal right to do so, and personally the right to do it too.

You don’t say why you have $ 80,000 in credit card debt and your wife has only $ 2,800. Assuming it is notbecause of your children’s college expenses, this disparity can also reveal that you have different spending habits and different skills for managing your money. It is a lot of money to have on your credit card, and if you have accumulated that money in various expenses, I can understand why your wife did not believe that it was her responsibility to pay off her personal debt.


Imagine if the situation changed and you invested $ 300,000 of your inheritance in this house, and then your wife turned around and said, ‘Thank you for paying off a good portion of our mortgage, but I feel that this is a good time for a divorce. ‘

Given the disparity in your income, I can understand why you feel that way. But that does not take into account the fact that she is a housewife, which is a full-time job in itself. That, plus her $ 20,000 a year job, suggests to me that she more than contributed her fair share of time and work to the marriage.

Furthermore, although she received less than you, let’s assume that she worked as hard as anyone else during those 13 years. In short: you both worked.

Your question about child support probably depends on where you live, your individual circumstances, the judge and the size of the estate. Previous cases showed that the income generated by an inheritance can be a factor in determining alimony, although the inheritance is generally considered to be a separate property. You were the main breadwinner and, based on previous cases of inheritance, you are unlikely to be an important factor in alimony.

Think of it this way: she just contributed $ 300,000 to your life when she could have taken all that money and divorced you. Imagine if the situation were reversed and you invested $ 300,000 of your inheritance in this house, and then your wife turned around and said, “Thanks for paying off part of our mortgage, but I think this is a good time for a divorce.”

If you feel upset now, you will be absolutely furious.

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