The issue of wedding gifts can be a bit tricky when you’re getting divorced. Who they came from, whom they’re sentimental to, and even how long you’ve been married all play a role in how they should be dealt with. Why? Because dividing up your assets is really hard, but can be even trickier when you’re talking about wedding gifts! So what do you do?
How long you’ve been married is a factor!
For a couple who’s been married 30, 10, or even as little as five years, the gifts they receive at their wedding are theirs. No one contests that. After all, you’ve owned them for quite a while. But when the gift in question was expensive, and the marriage has only lasted a short while, (less than two years) what do you do?
Some people say if it was given to you, then it’s yours, regardless of what happens after the wedding. Others say that if the gift was expensive – like a new car, or a house – then you may need to consider the opinions of the person who gave the gift. If the person who gave the gift was a parent or relative of the bride or groom, it may be wise to ask them if they have any thoughts on how they want their investment dealt with when the marriage ends.
Who the gift came from is important!
As we mentioned before, the person who gave you the gift is a factor when deciding how to divide assets during a divorce. For example, if the bride’s favorite aunt Cindy gave you both a beautiful pair of gold plated candlesticks as a wedding gift, many people believe they should go to the bride when you split. They did come from her side of the family, after all!
In the same vein, if the groom’s mother gifted the newly weds with new living room furniture for their new house, most people would argue that the groom should be allowed to keep the couches, ottoman, and coffee table that his mother paid for. However, while this argument does make sense, sentimental attachment also affects the decision.
Sentiment plays a role in the division of assets as well!
Let’s say the bride’s brother gave her and her new hubby an ornate mirror while they hung in the hall. It was beautiful – oil-rubbed bronze scrollwork and a deep bevel on the glass. But the bride didn’t really care for it. Not her style, she said. Although she was happy to hang it in the hallway because her brother gave it to her. The groom however, loved it. It was exactly the sort of thing he would have bought for himself.
So who should get it? The bride, whose family member gifted it? Or the groom, who is the only person who actually likes it? This is a tricky one. Technically, if the divorce is amicable, the wife would allow the husband to keep the mirror, since she knows it isn’t her style and her soon-to-be ex has always loved it. If the divorce is contentious, it’s exactly this kind of thing that would become a sticking point between them.
“I should get it! My brother gave it to us at our wedding!”
“I should get it! You’ve always hated it and you’re just keeping it to spite me!”
Dividing up assets during a divorce can be really difficult!
Division of assets is tricky. And the more you have, the harder it is to split everything up. For couples whose divorces are amicable, the division of assets can sometimes be done without the help of an attorney ( please note we said sometimes! – there are countless cases of people agreeing to splits that later came back to haunt them!)
One important point we’d like to make before we wrap this up, is how Michigan law views wedding gifts. Ultimately, if it was given as a wedding gift, it’s considered marital property. As Attorney Brandy Thompson says, “Courts won’t make a determination that a gift be returned (provided it truly is a gift and not a loan). So, if you feel that a gift should be returned, it would have to be by agreement of both parties. The other option is for you to attempt to gain possession of the “gift” during the divorce process, and then choose to return it on your own.”
However, if the divorce is contentious, or the divorcing couple is in disagreement about how things should be split, hiring an experienced divorce attorney is the best move! That way, you ensure that your interests are properly protected, and your assets are fairly divided. So if you or a loved one are getting divorced, call The Kronzek Firm today at 866 766 5245. We can help you with the separation of your property.