12 Aug How Do Wedding Gifts Get Divided during a Divorce?
Getting married is an exciting time. You’re starting a new chapter, entering into (hopefully) a lifelong adventure with your new spouse. To celebrate this occasion, it’s customary to receive gifts from family, friends, and other loved ones. But what happens to these gifts in the event that your marriage doesn’t end in “till death do us part?”
The state of New Jersey adheres to the doctrine of equitable distribution when settling property division issues during a divorce. This philosophy states that all marital assets must be split in an equitable, although not necessarily equal, manner. The wedding gifts you receive are considered marital assets and are therefore subject to equitable distribution laws in the event that your marriage ends in divorce.
While it would be easy to just say that you get the gifts given by your guests and your spouse gets the gifts from his or her guests, this arrangement will only work if you both agree to it. Technically, you are both potentially entitled to lay a claim to any of the gifts received, regardless of who gave them to you. This doesn’t mean that you have to split the fine china evenly between the two of you; however, it does mean that your spouse may be entitled to claim the china even if it was a gift from your parents.
Dividing property, particularly sentimental property such as wedding gifts, can be a very emotional and often acrimonious aspect of a divorce. Hopefully, you and your spouse can look past the hurt associated with the dissolution of your marriage in order to divide these gifts in a civil manner. If the china was an heirloom passed along from your spouse’s great grandmother, the right thing to do would probably be to concede this to your spouse during the property division.
When you work with Jeffrey M. Bloom, he’ll try to guide you towards these types of decisions in order to facilitate a more amicable agreement. Ultimately, conceding the family heirloom china will most likely help you keep a wedding gift that may be important to you. This is always a better way to approach the property division process than trying to take something valuable to your spouse out of spite.
However, if you and your spouse are unable to agree over how the wedding gifts will be divided, the courts may need to get involved. In these instances, you may not be happy with the decisions the court makes when arriving at an equitable distribution. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to come to an agreement with your spouse on how you will split these gifts.
If you need assistance with a divorce or property division matter, please contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey M. Bloom using the form at the top of the page or call (855) 208-3650 today to schedule a consultation. Mr. Bloom serves clients in West New York, Hackensack, and throughout Hudson County and Bergen County, New Jersey.