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Are Gifts Subject to Division in New Jersey Divorces?

You know that going through a divorce means that property will have to be divided up, but how does this apply to gifts that both spouses have received? Fortunately, you should be able to keep most of the items you received as gifts during your marriage after your divorce goes through. There are some potentially complicating factors though, which is why you’ll probably want the help of our Morris County, NJ divorce lawyers during the property division process.

Which Gifts Can Be Considered Separate Property?

Many types of gifts can actually be considered separate property, so they would not have to be divided up during the divorce process. They belonged to one person during the marriage, and they will belong to one person after the marriage ends.

It all depends on who gives the gift and who receives it. If a friend or family member of yours gives you something that is specifically addressed to you and only you, that is your gift. Even if it is something your spouse uses during your marriage or something that they think should be split up, the gift is only yours unless you did something that would mix it with marital property. We’ll talk about that more later.

Which Gifts Can Be Considered Marital Property?

There are probably plenty of gifts that you and your spouse have received as a couple. A wedding gift, anniversary present, or even a house-warming gift would all be considered marital property because they were given to both of you. The value of these items would have to be calculated so that property could be divided equally.

A gift could also be considered marital property if it was given to one spouse by the other. So even if it was just a gift for you, it could be subject to the property division process because it came from your spouse.

What If Gifts Mingle With Shared Funds?

As we mentioned earlier, most gifts given to just one spouse would be considered their separate property. This is almost always the case, unless they do something to combine their separate property with marital assets.

This can be as simple as depositing a check in the wrong account. If your separate property mixes with marital property, it’s probably going to be considered marital property and divided up during the divorce.

This is why it is wise to keep some things separate during a marriage. If you receive a car or a piece of property as a gift, do not just place your spouse’s name on the title or deed. If you receive a check from a loved one that is meant for just you, do not put it in a joint bank account. Commingling these assets can just create problems for you later.

Talk to a Divorce Attorney Today

If you want to learn more about how you can protect your assets and property during a divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark. We can take a closer look at your situation and let you know more about how an experienced family attorney can be of assistance.