Gifts as Equitable Distribution


#1

I have a couple of questions about equitable distribution. First, are gifts purchased as wedding gifts, but before the marriage date, considered items for equitable distribution or not? For example, my parents gifted us a piece of furniture for our wedding, but it was prior to our marriage date. I have receipts to prove the purchase date.

Second, my spouse was gifted a car during our marriage (i.e., after our marriage date). The car title is in my spouse’s name only. Is the car considered an item for equitable distribution or not?

Thank you.


#2

There are no hard and fast rules about whether wedding gifts are marital or separate property. There is a presumption that a gift from a family member to both spouses is actually a gift to only the related spouse, but that presumption is rebuttable. Since the gift is a “wedding” gift, and I believe whether the presumption is rebutted would lie in whether you would have gotten the gift had it not been for the fact that you were getting married.

A gift that is clearly to one spouse is considered separate property unless the spouse then gifts that property to the marriage. You can read more about that in our article on division of property.