Equitable Distribution of Gifts in a Divorce
Throughout the course of most marriages, couples give each other gifts and often receive gifts from others outside the marriage as well. When a divorce occurs, how are those gifts equitably distributed?
According to Florida statute 61.075, interspousal gifts during the marriage are considered marital assets. What does this mean? If spouses give each other gifts during the marriage, those marital assets must be equitably distributed at the time of the divorce. When one spouse titles premarital or non-marital property into joint names, that is considered a gift. While the gifting spouse may claim they did so because they thought the marriage would last forever, that does not contradict the statute.
If a spouse receives a gift from outside the marriage, the gift is considered a non-marital asset. These can be gifts of any size, shape, or value. However, these assets do come into play in determining whether or not a person is eligible for attorneys’ fees from the other.
The bottom line? Gifts between the parties still need to be equitably distributed. Gifts from others outside the marriage don't get distributed, but can be considered in the need and/or ability to pay analysis for attorneys’ fees.
Persons contemplating divorce need to line things up correctly prior to filing. Hiring an attorney with plenty of experience in these areas is always helpful if there is any doubt in what is to be done. Seek an experienced attorney who can assist you with your particular needs during your divorce.
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