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Interspousal Gifts Are the Separate Property of the Recipient


When it comes to determining which assets count as marital property and which spouse gets to keep how much of the marital wealth after divorce, the family courts are not in the business of keeping score.  All of the property that the parties acquired during the marriage is marital; it doesn’t matter which spouse earned how much money or which spouse’s name appears on the title of an asset.  If the court awards the marital home to one spouse, the former spouse that keeps the house might have to pay an equalizing payment to compensate the other spouse for a portion of the house’s value.  Pursuant to Florida’s equitable distribution laws, the court can distribute marital property equally or unequally, depending on what it deems fairest.  Of course, many factors determine what is fair, so there is room for disagreement.  In some cases, there is room for disagreement about whether an asset or a portion of its value is marital or nonmarital.  If you and your spouse disagree over which of your property is marital and therefore subject to division in divorce, contact a Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

What Happens If Your Ex Inherited Money From Her Family and Gave Some of It to You As a Gift?

Most property that enters the possession of either spouse is marital property, but there are several exceptions.  Interspousal gifts are the separate property of the recipient, regardless of whether the giving spouse used marital or nonmarital funds to buy them.  Likewise, money inherited by a spouse during the marriage is the separate property of the spouse who inherited it.  Inherited money becomes marital property if the inheriting spouse uses it as marital property, such as by depositing it into a joint bank account or by using it to buy a marital home.

This was the issue at stake in the divorce of a couple that owned one house in Vero Beach, Florida and another house in Missouri.  The wife contributed money that she had inherited from a family member toward the down payment of the Florida house.  As a result, the remaining balance on the mortgage of the Florida house was much lower than the outstanding balance on the Missouri house’s mortgage.  The couple’s divorce case went to trial, and the court awarded the Florida house to the wife and the Missouri house to the husband.  Neither spouse disagreed with this decision.  The disagreement was about how much the wife should pay the husband to compensate him for his share of the value of the Florida house.  The wife argued that more of the value of the house should belong to her, since she had contributed nonmarital funds to its purchase.  The husband argued that the wife’s contribution to the down payment out of her inherited money was an interspousal gift, and the court agreed with him.

Contact Schwartz | White About Disputes Over Gifts

A South Florida family law attorney can help you keep the gifts your spouse gave you during your marriage.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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