A gift with a twist?

My stepfather gave me some money to buy a piece of land. So he could get a tax deduction (?) he gave me $12,000 and my wife $12,000. I bought a lot
for $26,000. I saw an earlier statement on the forum about “intent”. His intent was to give me the money. She has never paid any upkeep on the lot.
I put new gravel down a while back and had some trees cut down. I have paid all the taxes on it for 3 yrs. She left 2 1/2 yrs ago. Would that be marital
property in a divorce? My mobile home (in my name only and not marital property) is on the lot. Thank you.

Her name is on the deed.

There is a rebuttable presumption that the gift was intended to be for you. Depending on where the funds came for the upkeep of the lot, she may have an argument that a portion of the property has been converted to marital property due to your active efforts during the marriage. I believe that a consultation to discuss all the details of your situation and the different possible outcomes would be beneficial.

not an attorney

I would think that this poses other problems from a legal perspective. If the gift was “presumed” to be for one spouse only, then I would think you’d be in trouble with the IRS and owe money on that second gift of 12k. The gift was divided in order to avoid paying taxes on the gift…the flip side of that is that only half is legally yours.