Can I Keep Gifts in a Divorce?

blue wrapped gift box

Property division can be a significant sticking point in any divorce agreement. Unfortunately, it is also an issue that can get complicated, especially when it comes to sorting out gifts and other items that you do not want to be considered marital property. If you are trying to keep the gifts you received before and while you were married, you may want to consult with an experienced Memphis, Tennessee property division lawyer.

Are Gifts Considered Marital Property?

Generally, a gift that was addressed to one spouse specifically will not be considered marital property. It is considered non-marital, or separate, property, meaning it should not be up for debate when the court divides up things after a divorce.

A gift to the married couple may be considered marital property. For example, you move into your new home after getting married and your in-laws buy you a dining room furniture set. That’s for both of you and likely to be considered marital property. However, if you are married and you receive a gift for your birthday that is specifically addressed to you, that is going to be considered separate property in most situations.

It is important to note that gifts from one spouse to another can be considered separate property. This can even apply to large gifts, like expensive jewelry or a new car. So if you gave your spouse a gift and now you are divorcing, you should not expect to get that gift back just because it was given while you were married.

Can My Ex-Spouse Go After an Inheritance?

Inheritances are much like gifts. If they are meant for you specifically, they are non-marital property and should go to you during the first stages of property division.

However, this can get complicated if this money ends up being intermingled with marital assets. Let’s say you put that inheritance in a joint account. Your ex-spouse might now say that they have a claim to it, and they could credibly make that argument in court when marital property is being divided. If you use the inheritance to fix up your shared home, a marital property, that could also muddy the waters a bit and make it harder for you to claim that it is separate property.

This can happen with other types of gifts as well. Maybe you get a car as a gift, but you put both you and your spouse on the title. The same could happen with a piece of property you are gifted if you put your spouse on the deed. This is why it is important to protect yourself and make sure that any separate property stays separate.

Contact a Property Division Lawyer

If you want to protect yourself and your assets in a divorce, having an experienced attorney on your side can help. Contact Rice Law and schedule a consultation today. We would love to tell you more about what we can do to assist you with your divorce and the property division process.