Let’s say that you have a grandparent that you are particularly close to, and they leave you a gift through inheritance that means the world to you. Flash forward a few years and you’ve got a marriage and an upcoming divorce that you believe may get kind of ugly. Because of this, you wonder if you have any protections that will keep you from losing out on the gift that your grandparent left for you. You have a right to be concerned when you are in this situation. Depending on the circumstances, some property could become your husband’s and other property could remain as your own.
State laws dictate whether some property is separate property or not. Separate property tends to include property that is owned by either spouse before the marriage, inheritances that have been received, gifts from a third party, payments in an injury lawsuit, and property that has been designated in an agreement. In California, we live in a community property state, which means that spouses are considered to be equal owners of marital property.
Should I Worry?
If a gift was made to you, then it is typically part of separate property right from the get-go. This means that it will usually not be subject to division during divorce proceedings, and will likely be protected. However, you must be able to show the court that it was intended to be a gift to you and not you and your spouse. It is very easy to have a mess on your hands if you are not careful with gift giving. For instance, if you give a gift to your spouse, it will most likely become marital property during divorce and problems with division may come into place. In money purposes, if you intend to keep something, you should consider putting it in a separate bank account.
Gift-giving is sometimes a matter of concern when you are in the midst of a divorce, as you never know what the courts will decide. If you received a special gift during the course of your marriage and you have concerns, call us today. We will help you figure out whether or not it is separate property and how to protect your assets.