TOPEKA — The Kansas Senate voted on April 5 to establish House Bill 2038 which would annul the rights of inheritance upon divorce. The act was introduced on Jan. 31 in the Kansas House of Representatives and made its way to the Senate in early February, where it was finally enacted in a unanimous vote.
According to the bill, the couple must be legally divorced, stating that “a decree of separation that does not terminate the parties' marital status is not a divorce” for its purposes. Written proof of the divorce also must be mailed by the payor. If a person purchases property from their former spouse or anyone related to them, they are not required to return the property to the previous owner.
According to U.S. law, inheritances are not considered to be material property, but rather separate property that belongs solely to the person who receives it, which means it can’t be divided between two parties. This changes when a couple shares an inheritance; however, the rules are different depending on the state.
Occasionally, couples will commingle a property, meaning that a home which belonged to one spouse before marriage will become the legal property of both husband and wife. In some courts, a portion of commingled funds may be considered separate property.
The Bill was sponsored by the Committee on Judiciary led by Fred Patton (R-Topeka), who was also the one who introduced it back in January. The Bill passed through the Senate’s final action on March 27 and received only one dissenting vote from Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee). On April 5, the House reviewed the Senate’s amendments to the Bill and concurred in a unanimous 120--0 vote.
Marissa Ventrelli is a University of Kansas junior from Chicago majoring in journalism.