If you and your partner plan on getting a divorce, you may have already started preparing financial statements since you know the courts must see your marital property when dividing assets. However, you may not know what will happen to any gifts you’ve received or have exchanged with your spouse, such as whether they are considered yours or if they will be subject to distribution. Keep reading to learn more about how this is determined and why you need New Jersey equitable distribution attorneys to help you navigate this process.
Are Gifts Considered Marital or Separate Property?
You must understand what constitutes marital property versus separate property for divorcing couples. Generally, marital property is acquired during the marriage and is subject to New Jersey’s equitable distribution laws. Separate property is generally acquired prior to the marriage and will remain in the ownership of the spouse whose property it is.
New Jersey is one of many states that adheres to the equitable distribution process, in which the courts will consider a number of factors to determine how to divide assets. Funds, property, and debts are split depending on each spouse’s contribution to the union.
In most instances, gifts given to one spouse by an outside party are considered separate property. For example, if a wife receives a $10,000 inheritance, it will likely be considered their own property. However, if these funds are placed in a joint bank account, this is called co-mingling. As such, this money then becomes a marital asset.
It’s also important to understand what happens to gifts exchanged from one spouse to another. For example, if a wife gives her husband a motorcycle for their fifth anniversary, it is subject to equitable distribution upon divorce. This does not mean the husband must return the gift, but it will be appraised, and its value will be taken into consideration when dividing up the rest of the property.
What Else Should I Consider?
If you have a gift that you want to consider separate property, it is your duty to fulfill the burden of proof that it is separate property. You may need to provide proof that your gifts were directly gifted to you. For example, a check in your name only or a gift card telling you, and you alone, to enjoy the item you were gifted can prove that it was your gift. Unfortunately, if you are unable to provide proof that the gift was intended only for you, it will be subject to distribution.
When you’re going through a divorce, our dedicated legal team will examine your circumstances to help you keep the property you are entitled to. Contact our Morris County law firm today to discuss the details of your case with one of our competent attorneys.