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Can I Keep Gifts During a Divorce?

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When you and your spouse divorce, you may understand that your home, joint bank accounts, and other properties will be distributed. You may not consider how any gifts you or your spouse received during the marriage may be split when undergoing this process. This is something that is a high point of contention for many divorcing spouses, so it’s essential to understand how this matter is handled. If you’re confused about how gifts will be distributed during your divorce, you’ll want to keep reading. You’ll learn more about this matter and how Somerset County property distribution attorneys can help you navigate this process.

What Happens to Gifts During a Divorce?

Before learning about what happens to gifts during a divorce, it’s essential to understand how New Jersey distributes marital property during divorce. The state adheres to the equitable distribution of marital property. This means assets acquired during the marriage are split depending on how much each spouse contributed to the union. This helps ensure that stay-at-home parents can still receive property during a divorce, as they contributed by raising children, even if they were not working.

In many instances, gifts are considered separate property. As a result, this means the owner of the present will get to keep it as their own. For example, if one spouse receives a motorcycle from a friend during the marriage, if their spouse does not pay insurance or contribute by maintaining the vehicle, they will likely not be entitled to this asset.

Similarly, when one spouse gifts another spouse something, it may be deemed marital property because it is of value and acquired during the relationship. For example, if a husband gives his wife an expensive ring a year into their marriage, it will likely be considered marital property.

Are There Exceptions to This?

Though most gifts acquired from a third party are deemed separate property, there are some instances in which they can become marital property. This is through co-mingling.

For example, if one spouse receives $10,000 from a family member and places that money in a separate bank account, it will be classified as separate property. However, if they deposit that money in a joint account, it is considered marital property, as it has been mixed with marital assets. As such, it will be distributed according to equitable distribution laws.

Unfortunately, some spouses may try to claim that assets are considered separate property because they are a gift. In this instance, it is the responsibility of the spouse who believes the present to be individual property to fulfill the burden of proof that the asset was a gift they received.

When you’re going through a divorce, you must have an attorney to help you through this process. At the Siragusa Law Firm, our dedicated legal team is dedicated to helping you enter the next chapter of your life by representing your best interests. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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