Is gifted property a shared asset?

UPDATED: Dec 15, 2011

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Is gifted property a shared asset?

My soon-to-be ex-wife’s parent purchased our house but both of our names are on the deed. We’ve been paying the taxes, doing upgrades, repairs, etc. for years. Since the house was a gift isn’t the house considered joint property? Or would the court somehow favor my ex and her parents?

Asked on December 15, 2011 under Family Law, New York


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Assets acquired prior to marriage, inherited or (as in your case) gifted are treated as separate property. That having been said, such property can be "transmutted" (i.e. changed) from a separate into a marital asset. This can happen in several ways, including adding a spouse's name to property (it serves as good evidence that the intent was to make the assets joint). And the fact is that your name was not added, both of your names were on the deed at the time that it was gifted. Further, joint assets were in all likelihood used to maintain and/or improve the property. So, the house is a joint not separate asset. 

At this point you should consider consulting directly with a divorce attorney in your area. They can more fully discuss with you your rights in this case.

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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