You know that your property will have to be split up in a divorce, but what happens to the gifts that you received while you were married? If you are trying to do everything that you can to protect your own property during a divorce, you might want to consult our experienced Mountainside property distribution attorneys.
Are Gifts Considered Marital Property?
In many cases, a gift that is given just to you can be considered your property. If your friend gives you a watch or your family member leaves you some money or another form of inheritance that was specifically for you, then it is yours. It is considered a gift to you and becomes your property, not the property of you and your spouse.
If the gift is given to you and your spouse without an indication that it is specifically meant for one person, then it is usually considered marital property. Let’s say you receive something as an anniversary or wedding gift and it is addressed to both of you. Someone could obviously make the argument that this particular gift is marital property and needs to be split up equitably in a divorce agreement.
How Do I Keep Separate Property from Becoming Marital Property?
One thing you have to be careful about is mixing your personal property with marital property. It is entirely possible that a gift that was once meant exclusively for one person could become marital property.
This can easily happen with inherited money. One spouse receives an inheritance, a gift that was specifically for them, not for them and their spouse. They then take that money and deposit it into their joint bank account. It could now be possible for their spouse to argue that this inheritance is marital property.
This can happen with a gift of property that goes to one person but has the deed in both spouses’ names. It can happen with a vehicle that is gifted to one spouse but put in both of their names. This is why you need to be careful when it comes to gifts and make sure that you are taking steps to protect your own property.
What if the Gifts Were From My Spouse?
There is a situation in which a gift that was solely meant for you can be considered marital property. If your spouse gives you a gift, that can often be classified as marital property. Even if it was just addressed to you, you received it from your partner during your marriage and it can potentially be distributed with other property during the divorce.
Contact a Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney
If you have concerns about how to protect your own property during a divorce, contact Ross & Calandrillo, LLC. We can schedule a consultation and answer your questions