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What happens to gifts during a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 12, 2022 | Divorce

When you and your spouse started the paperwork to get a divorce, one question you had in your mind was what you were going to be able to protect for yourself. Which of your assets would not be at risk upon divorcing?

You’d received many gifts from your spouse over the years, as well as gifts from loved ones and friends. Knowing how those gifts are going to be handled can give you the information you need to protect yourself as you start property division negotiations with your spouse.

For any property that isn’t separate, there are equitable division rules

In Florida, the state uses equitable division rules for marital property. That means that you should expect to divide your property equitably once you figure out what is separate and what is shared.

For gifts, you need to keep in mind that the recipient spouse is usually the one who retains control of that asset, since gifts usually qualify as separate property. However, there could be exceptions to that rule. For example, if you receive a gift from a friend and share it regularly with your spouse, your spouse may be able to argue that it was intended for both of you.

How can you make sure you can keep gifts as separate property?

One of the better things you can do is make sure you have a receipt of some kind. If you can’t get a receipt for the item from the person who gave it to you, another option is to ask them to write you a note for the court stating that it was gifted to you at a certain time.

Settle outside court if you can, but you can also go to court for help

If you negotiate outside of court, you and your spouse may decide that all gifts remain separate property, helping you avoid complications related to gifts as you separate your property. If you have to go to court, you’ll want as much evidence that an item was a gift as possible, so the court can exclude it from the property division process.