Are gifts from one spouse to the other during the course of the marriage subject in general to a 50/50 split?
What if I inherited money or an asset, or a third party gave a gift given solely to me (and not my spouse)?
As long as the inherited property is not put into joint names, it will most often remain the separate property of the inheriting spouse even though the inheritance took place during the marriage. (and thus will not be divided 50-50) The same holds true for gifts solely to one spouse from a third party during the marriage; it will remain that party’s separate property, and not be subject to 50/50 split.
What if I had property before the marriage or attained property during the marriage through inheritance or gift from a third party, and the property grows in value during the marriage?
This can get rather complicated, but the easy answer is that if the property grows in value because of natural market forces or inflation, then no portion of the increased value will go to the other spouse. On the other hand, if for example the property involves a business, and the value of the business increases during the marriage because of the efforts of one or both parties, (or because of the contribution of marital assets) then that increased value may well be divided 50/50. The same example can be given for stocks or other assets. Although the stock or other asset may be the separate property of one spouse because it was attained prior to the marriage, or during the marriage through inheritance for example, if it can be shown that the efforts of either or both parties during the marriage led to an increase in value of the asset, then that increase in value may be divided 50/50.
What if my spouse is hiding or wasting assets or I do not know what assets there are?
You may be able to get an injunction stopping your spouse from touching assets and records can be subpoenaed to uncover what assets there are. Also, if you can show that your spouse wasted marital assets, you may be entitled to a credit for your portion of what was wasted when the marital assets are divided at the end of the case. Each party needs to fill out and sign a sworn financial affidavit. If your spouse does not lie about the assets, you will get a complete picture of finances through this and other means.
For more information, please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Rooney & Rooney, P.A.