By Matthew Jackson
The holidays are generally a time of family togetherness, merriment, and gift exchanges. Because of the traditions and hustle and bustle of the holiday season, many clients wait to seek legal services until after the holidays. Yet, it is commonly realized well before the New Year that a separation/divorce may be looming. Waiting until after the business and traditions of the holiday season allows a person to avoid potentially awkward conversations with family and muddled schedules for the holidays–after all, no one wants to complicate and introduce negativity to a time that is supposed to be filled with enjoyment and gifts. However, how might giving and/or receiving Christmas gifts (or any other gifts during the marriage) prior to separation be affected once the separation process begins?
Generally, property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property and subject the presumptive 50/50 split many Judges enforce in litigation. However, depending on the circumstances, gifts are treated differently. There are a few nuances to be mindful of and observe: