Gift to marriage question


#1

I have some questions about a property settlement proposition I have been presented with this week by my ex- husband and his lawyer. Some background information may be helpful.

I was married for 32 years.

married in 1976

divorced my ex husband 2009

I was a stay at home mom with no income although I did work for our marital business with no pay.

We had a successful construction business during the last 17 years of our marriage

adjoining our home marital property my ex owned approximately 25 acres that was only put in his name

In 2002 my ex husband had 2.32 road front acres surveyed out of the piece of property that adjoins our marital home property and is only in his name. This 2.32 acres was surveyed out to build a shop for our marital construction business on

after surveying off those 2.32 acres for our business shop we took out a bank loan to buy the prefab shop building itself and used the 2.32 acres as collateral

my name is signed both on the loan and on the satisfaction of the loan paperwork from the bank when we finally paid it off

Now in the settlement proposal from my ex husband and his lawyer they are stating that the 2.32 acres the business shop building sets on and the concrete pad that was poured for the business shop to be built on, are not part of the marital business assets. They state I only have a share in the building itself. I believe that the 2.32 acres became a gift to the marriage. Any advice or insight you can offer would be much appreciated. The court issues surrounding my divorce have been in court since 2008.


#2

Was the acreage in question originally separate property? Or was it acquired during the marriage? If the property was acquired during the marriage, with marital funds, then it should be considered a marital asset. If it was his separate property you could make the argument that your involvement with the business, construction of the shop, etc. indicated that the acreage was gifted to the marriage and should be considered marital.


#3

"Was the separate piece of land acquired during the marriage"
The answer is “yes” but then it gets a little more complicated.

My ex husband and myself purchased a different tract of land in 1977. This tract of land was 30.5 acres but was land -locked and we had to acquire an easement across another man’s property to allow access in and out of our property. We subsequently built a home on this 35.5 tract of land.

in the mid nineties the acreage we had the access easement across came up for sale. My ex - husband and I discussed purchasing the property and the value it would add to the property we already owned because we would now have road frontage. The problem was we were financially unable to purchase the land at this time. We agreed to ask his parents if they would purchase it for us and let us buy it back from them when we were financially able. His parents were in agreement with this plan and they purchased the property to hold it for us.the purchase was for 25.15 acres. They allowed us to use this land as if it were ours and we grew corn on it to sell locally and at the farmers market.

in 1999 my ex husband’s father became ill and died. Just before he died he deeded the land over to my ex husband and put the deed only in his name

1999 - 2002 we continuously used this land like martial property and parked our company equipment and vehicles on it and I contributed to the upkeep of if by weed trimming and mowing. We also cut wood from this property to use as fire wood to heat our marital home

in 2002 we agreed to build a shop to locate our business in and my ex husband had 2.32 acres surveyed out of the the acreage that was the acreage only in his name deeded to him by his parents. When he surveyed out the property to build our shop on he again had the surveyed acreage only put in his name

as in stated in my first post, we then used the 2.32 acreage as collateral and purchased a pre fabricated shop building, which we then had to construct ourselves

also we borrowed an additional line of equity on our home to pay for pouring the concrete pad and putting in a well among other expenses for the business shop to be built. So our marital assets were immersed in the building of this business shop and the improvement of the real estate the shop sits upon

Hope this clarifies the circumstances a little better and maybe gives me more of a foundation to argue that the shop and the acreage it sits on as being marital property. You should also know that my ex- husband and his lawyer are arguing that the shop acreage is my ex husbands “inheritance” as well as the larger tract of land that was deeded only over to him in 1999.


#4

I would make the argument that it is marital property. You can rebut the inheritance argument by claiming that it was a gift to both parties during the marriage - it was not an outright devisement in his will and was given prior to death.


#5

Thank you for your input. I have some more questions that I would like to ask as far as verifying information I have been told concerning my case. I think it would be better for me to purchase a month of Rosen online and continue from there.I look forward to communication with Rosen Law Firm and will be in contact soon through the online program.