How Are Gifts Divided During a New Jersey Divorce?


When you put romantic ideals aside and consider marriage at its core, you’ll realize that this social partnership is merely a merger of two entities into a single unit with shared assets and liabilities. Like many other couples who get hitched, you’ll likely abide by the guiding principle of “what’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine.” This idea of shared property in a marriage begs the question of who owns what in the event a couple decides to call it quits. Martial property is subject to division upon divorce. Often, divorcing couples wonder whether gifts are considered marital assets, making them subject to equitable distribution. Please continue reading to learn how gifts are handled in a New Jersey divorce and how a determined Ocean County Property Division Attorney can help fight for your entitled share of the marital estate. 

How Are Assets and Debts Divided During a New Jersey Divorce?

New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. This means that the court must divide any assets and debts accumulated during your marriage in a fair manner. However, it’s crucial to understand that “fairness” doesn’t necessarily mean that each spouse will get an equal share of the marital property. The court recognizes that a marriage is an economic partnership. Therefore, they consider a stay-at-home parent’s contributions as valuable as their counterpart’s earnings.

When dividing assets and debts, it’s important to distinguish between marital and separate property. Marital property accounts for any assets accumulated during the marriage, regardless of which spouse acquired it. Separate property, however, represents assets accrued before the marriage. Separate property is not subject to division during a divorce. The court will typically consider the following factors to determine what is fair and just to both parties:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The income of each spouse
  • The value of the property
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The financial obligations and debts of each party
  • The tax consequences of the division
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • Any written agreements, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
  • Any other relevant factors

Are Gifts Subject to Division in a Divorce?

In most instances, gifts from an outside party are considered separate property. For example, if one spouse receives an inheritance, it would be regarded as their property. However, if these funds are placed in a joint bank account, these assets would be considered commingled. When it’s mixed with marital assets or used for the benefit of the marriage, it will be considered marital property. Furthermore, giving your spouse a gift during the marriage or vice versa will be subject to equitable distribution. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to give the gift back. Instead, the value of the gift would be factored into the value of the overall marital property.

When you’re going through a divorce, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney from the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, who can help you protect your assets and overall financial security. Allow our firm to represent your interests today.