Divorce proceedings can be complex and emotionally taxing, particularly when it comes to the division of assets. One area that often raises questions is whether gifts received during the marriage are subject to division in a divorce. Pennsylvania law has specific guidelines on this matter, and understanding these can significantly impact the outcome of a divorce settlement. Read this blog and reach out to the dedicated Pennsylvania divorce lawyers at Berman Voss to learn about how gifts are treated in the context of a Pennsylvania divorce. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What Constitutes a Gift in a Marriage?

Before diving into the division of gifts, it is essential to define what constitutes a gift within a marriage. Under Pennsylvania law, a gift is typically considered any property or asset given by one party to another without the expectation of something in return. This can include anything from jewelry, real estate, vehicles, to money.

The intent behind the transfer is crucial; it must be clear that the giver intended the item to be a gift. For example, if a spouse gifts a piece of jewelry to the other spouse for an anniversary, it is generally recognized as a gift. However, the situation can become murky when the intent is not explicitly documented or agreed upon by both parties.

Are Gifts Received During the Marriage Considered Marital Property in a Divorce?

In Pennsylvania, the classification of gifts as marital or non-marital property is pivotal in divorce proceedings. Generally, gifts given by one spouse to the other are considered marital property and thus subject to equitable distribution. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split but rather what is deemed fair by the court, considering various factors.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, gifts received from third parties, such as parents or friends, are typically classified as non-marital property, provided they are given solely to one spouse. Additionally, inheritances received by one spouse are also considered non-marital property, even if acquired during the marriage.

The distinction between marital and non-marital property can significantly impact the division process. It is essential for individuals going through a divorce to provide clear evidence and documentation of the nature and intent of any gifts received during the marriage. This can include gift receipts, statements of intent, or any other relevant documentation that supports the claim that an asset was indeed a gift.

If you have further questions about how the equitable distribution works in Pennsylvania or you need a team of attorneys who will fight to protect your assets, please don’t hesitate to contact Berman Voss today.