What Happens to Wedding Gifts in a Divorce?
Divorces are a difficult time for married couples to go through, especially when it comes to dividing assets. Wedding gifts can be particularly difficult to divide given the sentiment that went along with the gift. So, what happens to wedding gifts in a divorce? First, it pays to look at how general assets are treated.
How are Assets Usually Divided in a Divorce?
In a community property state like Arizona, assets that are acquired during the marriage are considered community property subject to equitable (which usually means equal) division. This does not necessarily mean that each party will get the same amount of property but, rather, each party should walk away with approximately the same value of assets versus debts.
What About Separate Property?
Separate property is property that is acquired by one spouse before the marriage, or during the marriage by gift or inheritance. As an example of a gift during the marriage, if one spouse’s parents purchase a piece of art for that spouse, then upon divorce, the Court would affirm it to that spouse and the other spouse would not have a financial interest in the piece of art.
Is a Wedding Gift Separate or Community Property?
Technically speaking, a wedding gift may be community or separate property depending on a variety of circumstances. For example, a bride may choose to have a bridal shower well before the marriage at which gifts are given “to her” rather than “to the couple.” That may present an argument that those gifts are actually the bride’s separate property. However, as the gifts were given in contemplation of the parties getting married, the groom has a very good argument that those gifts would be community property anyway.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of the gift, arguments as to whether the gift is community or separate property may play into the overall division of community assets upon divorce.
Consult a Lawyer for Difficult Wedding Gift Ownership Decisions
If you were given a larger gift – such as a sum of money – as a wedding gift or a particularly sentimental keepsake, it’s well worth contacting an experienced attorney to see if there are reasonable arguments to be made about the community versus separate nature of the gift.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Wedding Gifts in a Divorce, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Lindsay A.M. Olivarez at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.