New Jersey is an equitable division state, which means that each party must receive an equitable share of the marital assets during a divorce. A marital asset is defined as any asset that was acquired during the course of the marriage, regardless of who paid for it. But, what about presents that were given to one spouse? Are gifts considered marital assets? Here’s what you need to know:
How Gifts Are Classified in New Jersey
The rules regarding the classification of gifts vary from state-to-state. In New Jersey, a gift that was given to one spouse is excluded from equitable division of marital assets. However, this rule only applies to gifts that were given by third parties. If a gift was given from one spouse to the other, it is classified as a marital asset. For example, if the parents of a married woman decide to give her a diamond bracelet, this is not a marital asset since it was given to the woman by a third party, not her spouse.
A gift that was given to one spouse by a third party is considered separate property in most cases. However, if this gift is mixed with marital property, it becomes a marital asset. For instance, let’s say parents give their married daughter a check for $10,000 and she deposits it into the bank account she shares with her husband. Since she mixed the separate asset (the gift) with a marital asset (the money in the joint account), the gift can now be classified as a marital asset.
How to Prove Certain Assets Were Gifts
Spouses often argue about the classification of assets during the divorce proceedings. One spouse may believe that a certain gift is a separate asset, whereas the other may believe it is a marital asset. If you want to win this battle, it’s important to provide proof.
For example, let’s say you want to prove that an expensive piece of jewelry is a marital asset because you gave it to your spouse during your marriage. But, your spouse wants to classify it as her separate property, so she claims that it was given to her by her parents. If you want to ensure this asset is classified as a marital asset and subject to division, you must prove that it was a gift. The best way to prove that an asset was a gift is to provide a receipt, but other forms of evidence may work as well.
Have you decided to end your marriage? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC as soon as possible. No one should ever discuss the division of assets with their spouse without an experienced attorney by their side. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.