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What happens with gifts in a divorce?

During the holidays and at other times of the year, people can receive gifts that have considerable value, both emotionally and financially. When a person gets divorced, among the concerns he or she may have are worries about what will happen with cherished gifts he or she received in the past. Today, we'll go over the basics of how gifts are treated in Pennsylvania divorce law.

Under state law, most property spouses obtained during a marriage is subject to being divided in a divorce. However, gifts are among the exceptions to this. Gifts are generally considered separate property belonging to the person given the gift.

As a note, this exception does not extend to gifts one spouse gave the other during the marriage. Such gifts are generally considered marital property.

Also, if a gift that does qualify as separate property increased in value during the marriage, the increase in value is typically considered marital property.

How are gift value increases that happened during a marriage and gifts that don't fall under the gift exception divided in a divorce? It depends on the situation. A divorcing couple could reach an agreement setting out how such property will be divided. If they do not, the decision would generally go to a court. Courts in Pennsylvania are to base their decisions on how to divide marital property in a divorce on what would be equitable. A range of factors are considered in deciding what would be equitable in a given divorce.

So, while gifts generally are not up for division in a divorce, how a given gift would be treated in a divorce depends on the specific situation. Skilled divorce lawyers can help individuals with addressing property concerns they have regarding a divorce, such as concerns over cherished gifts.

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