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

‘What do you think of the way she has treated her inheritance? If we divorce, will I have to pay her alimony?’

5/10/2021 4:03:00 AM

My wife inherited $800K. She put $300K towards our mortgage and $500K in her own bank account — after 35 years of marriage

‘What do you think of the way she has treated her inheritance? If we divorce, will I have to pay her alimony?’

I’ve been married 35 years.My wife is going to inherit $800,000 and told me she will use $300,000 to pay off our mortgage. The house is worth $450,000. But she will put the remaining $500,000 into her own personal checking account.I’m 65 and still work. I earn $130,000 a year and plan to continue to work for another five years, as long as I am in good health.

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My wife retired two years ago at age 59 after working for 13 years, earning $20,000 a year. She mostly stayed home and helped raise our two children, who are now adults with their own jobs.My wife gets a small pension and I will also get a pension. We have no savings, no 401(k), nothing. I paid for my kids’ college education. We own one car outright. I have credit-card debt of nearly $80,000. My wife has credit-card debt of $2,800.

What do you think of the way she has treated her inheritance? If we divorce, will I have to pay her alimony?Been Working Since I Was 16You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions at to read more?Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns here.

Dear Working,Don’t allow your frustration over this inheritance OR the fact that you have been working since 16 to force you into doing something rash. Your wife has used more than one-third of this money to pay off your joint mortgage. Inheritances are not considered community property, so she is clearly taking her time deciding what to do with it. While that may feel like a slap in the face after 35 years of marriage, she is legally entitled to do that, and personally entitled to do so too.

You don’t say why you have $80,000 in credit-card debt and your wife only has $2,800. Assuming it’s notbecause of your children’s college expenses, this disparity may also reveal that you have different spending habits and abilities to manage your money. That’s a lot of money to have on your credit card, and if you racked up that money on miscellaneous expenses, I can understand why your wife did not believe it was her responsibility to pay off your personal debt.

“ Imagine if the tables were turned and you put $300,000 of your inheritance toward this house, and then your wife turned around and said, ‘Thanks for paying off a chunk of our mortgage, but I feel like this is a good time for a divorce.’ ”Given the disparity in your incomes, I can understand why you feel the way you do. But that does not take into account being a stay-at-home mother, 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 labor to the marriage.

Plus, even though she was paid less than you, let’s assume that she worked as hard as anyone for those 13 years. Bottom line: You both worked.Your question regarding alimony likely depends on where you live, your individual circumstances, the judge, and the size of the inheritance. Previous cases have shown that the income generated from an inheritance can be a factor in determining alimony, even though inheritance is generally considered separate property. You were the major breadwinner, and based on previous cases on inheritance, it’s unlikely to be a major factor in alimony.

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Think of it this way: She has just contributed $300,000 to your life together when she could have kept all of that money, and divorced you. Just imagine if the tables were turned and you put $300,000 of your inheritance toward this house, and then your wife turned around and said, “Thanks for paying off a chunk of our mortgage, but I feel like this is a good time for a divorce.”

If you feel upset now, you would be absolutely furious then.The Moneyist:My fiancée’s mother asked us to raise her 2 kids, as we live in a good school district and she has a gambling addiction — then she claimed their stimulus checks Read more: MarketWatch »

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Mabe she is planning to divorce you. Unless you have a prenup its half yours Since she is your legal spouse, I would take the inheritance and commingle our family money for our marriage. IMHO this is a trust problem not a $ problem. My money/your money fosters a married-single mentality and breeds distrust that ur spouse has an exit strategy for divorce.

You earned 4 times as much per year as she did. For her having this much money is a big deal and it is understandable she is used to 'saving money'. Giving you 300 was already enough good-will. Think about her in case she ends up alone, with no savings. Poor sod Fair Sounds like a woman hi Aggravating dumb stories. Unfollowed.

Wow. A stay at home mother is a full time job. She worked too, salary doesn’t mean you worked any harder than she did during her career. And, the most important part, it’s HER inheritance from HER loved one. You aren’t entitled to any of it 🙄 And she paid off the mortgage! If she was smart, she wouldn't commingle any of it

To those saying divorce her and he gets half haha that’s not how it works. Actually she shouldn’t pay off the house. She should invest that money into her own brokerage account (not joint).

Tough shit. It's family money and it's her birthright. He should be grateful she's paying off the mortgage. Divorce her, you will get half. get a divorce and gain 50% of it. Yep, that's how it works. Lucky she's paying off the house. She could keep it all, if she wanted to. tell her to put it all into doge

It's fair. She is paying the mortgage. She inherited the money, her money. It's not fair! She needs to use it to buy Bitcoin. good luck You should be thankful she’s paying off the mortgage.

Yes...fair. Your house is paid off The Moneyist responded with exactly what I was thinking: Sounds like the husband is bad with money. 80k in credit card debt and no 401K at his age? Why? Wife should give him an allowance or whatever he did for her when he was the one with more financial resources. Your wife is fucking with the landlorder sorry to be truth and he is 23 and japon

That’s about what we owe on our mortgage. I would be ecstatic if I was him Good for her! Hopefully she’ll invest it all in $AMC Well sure if he wants soma this cheddar take his name off the mortgage 50%,equality is equality Sounds’s HER money asshole

What's bitch pay in court! whosmilkingit From reading the 'Dear Moneyist', are there any happily married couples in the US? Do you all get married just for money? You MAFIA HabHab? Come On! 😂 She was a stay at home mom and made 20k and paid off the majority of the house…women couldn’t get credit or loans until 1975…sit the fuck down and let her have the $$

Hab HAB HabHab? Hab Hab! 😂 good Let’s ask if the genders were swapped if it still sounds like a normal question to ask... A jokester or just too damn lonely. No need to fabricate a means to chat. Can’t she give/donate her spouse 200k and it not get taxed, of buy eth or btc while they are on sale!

Very fair, while you’re stupid. Absolutely. How did you get into $80K of credit card debt? Under Alberta laws you’re not entitled to a nickle of her inheritance so feel luck she’s paying off your mortgage and not asking for more than 50% ownership of your house There is laws for that. Yes it’s completely fair, she inherited, her money. 🤣👍🏼

You are very blessed! It means more of that capital is free to be deployed as she sees fit instead of tying all into one asset (real estate). Your monthly mortgage costs will be slashed, freeing up further capital for investment (ie if mortgage payment goes from $2000/mo to $500, that’s +$1500/Mo) ✅ She should invest it all, in her own brokerage account.

Yes - she is paying down the debt - it’s called responsibility

Yes you bum It's her money, not yours Dude, you're 65, have zero saved for retirement and have $80k in credit card debt. Maybe she's saving both of you from your out of control spending. So you want a piece? I don’t understand the issue But she put 300k in the house that they live in - I don’t get it Let us know if you're still married in a couple years!

AMC is shorted It’s her money. What made you assume it’s “shareable”? Even you are working to provide for HER and your kids right? If it’s all hers leave her to enjoy it. Be happy it’s in the hands of the person for who the inheritance was intended. Tell her to put it in gold. That 800 will soon be worth nothing

She gotta hit my hand with a hunnit k and pay off all my bills. congrats And she would cry foul if he did the same lol. 'My wife inherited $800K. She put $300K towards our mortgage and $500K in her own bank account — after 35 years of marriage' What a freeloader husband