Is gifted property a shared asset?

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 9 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.


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