Does my husband have rights in property given to me by my father?

UPDATED: Jul 17, 2011

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Does my husband have rights in property given to me by my father?

While I was married my father transferred a piece of property he had owned by himself into a joint tenancy with himself and I with the right of survivorship. Now I am getting divorced and my husband is claiming that he should get a piece of it as “marital property” but my father never intended for him to get any of it just me and maybe my children (whom my husband doesn’t want nor have any custody of). I want to know whether I should be worried that my husband might get a piece of it and , if so, would transferring my part of the deed to my daughter’s name until the divorce is over work?

Asked on July 17, 2011 under Family Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The general rule is that property acquired prior to marriage, inherited property, or gifted property (your case)  remains separate. Accordingly it does not become part of the marital estate and is therefore not subject to equitable distribution. The only exception would be if marital assets were used to maintain or improve the property. In that case either the property may have "transmuted" (i.e. been turned into) marital property or the other spouse may be entitled to reimbursement and/or a share in the increased value of the asset.

It sounds like it about time that you should consult directly with a divorce attorney in your area.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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