How are Marital Gifts Treated in a Florida Divorce?
The last thing you want to think about during the holiday season is a divorce. After all, this is the time of year of joy and giving. Of course, underlying relationship problems do not simply disappear during the holidays. Quite the contrary, this can be a time when the stress can make some marital problems rear their ugly head.
It is also a good time to address what happens to ‘gifts’ during a Florida divorce. Do you get to keep a gift from your spouse even if you get divorced? Here, our dedicated Orlando property distribution lawyer answers that question and discusses the general issue of gifts and divorce.
Florida Divorce: Can You Keep a Gift From Your Spouse?
Florida is an equitable distribution jurisdiction. As such, all of a couple’s marital property will be divided up and distributed in a ‘fair’ manner. However, any individual property will be exempt from division. So, this raises an important question: Are spousal gifts marital property in Florida? The answer: Maybe. While that type of unclear answer may not be satisfying, the simple truth is that this is a highly complex question. There are several different factors that will need to be considered.
How are Interspousal Gifts Treated in Divorce?
As a general rule, all property that is obtained after the start of the marriage is inherently joint property. As such, that property is subject to equitable distribution. This is true even if your spouse is giving you a gift. An interspousal gift can be considered a ‘gift to the marriage’, not simply ‘a gift to you’. However, there are exceptions to this standard. Indeed, if your spouse clearly indicated that they were giving you a gift that they wanted to be your ‘individual property’, then this may not be subject to distribution for the purposes of divorce. This can be extremely hard to prove, as, for the most part, spouses simply do not say anything either way when giving a gift. The big exception to this is real estate. Most real estate deed transfers require that you put it in writing that the property is being transferred to an ‘individual’, and not to the marriage as a whole.
You Do Not Have to Lose Out on Your Gifts
Even if your gifts are marital property, you do not have to lose out on the things that you want to keep. This is an issue that can typically be resolved through collaborative divorce negotiations. A protracted dispute over a past gift is generally not in either spouse’s best interests. If this is an issue in your divorce case, you should consult with a Central Florida divorce attorney who can help you find a workable solution.
Contact Our Orlando Family Law Attorney Today
At the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., our Florida divorce lawyer has extensive experience handling complex property division cases. If you have any questions about the division of marital assets and liabilities, please contact our law firm today for your confidential case evaluation. We are located in Orlando and we serve individuals and families throughout Orange County, including in Apopka, Maitland, and Lake Buena Vista.