June 12, 2024

Gifts and divorces

Specialist divorce solicitor, Kuba Kubiszyn, takes a look at gifts and divorce, and what can be done to protect a gift from a divorce.

Not many people think of safeguarding assets when they are married and often tend to make and receive significant gifts from their spouse. Likewise, people may receive gifts from family members and not realise that these may become a part of the “matrimonial pot” and be up for distribution on divorce.

What happens to gifts between spouses

These will often be deemed absolute and, depending on the nature of the gift, not recoverable in divorce proceedings. Items such as Jewellery will generally be assigned a value and may be considered as part of the matrimonial pot. This mostly happens in cases where the value of the jewellery is significant. More often, unless there is a qualified nuptial agreement in place, these will not be considered as part of the pot and will remain in the possession of the receiver.

The possible exception is family heirlooms which may be recovered by the party whose family the heirloom belonged to. Depending on circumstances of the case, these may not need to be considered a part of the matrimonial pot.

What happens to gifts from other family members

You may receive a gift from a family member which you would like to safeguard. What happens to it largely depends on the nature and value of the gift, as well as whether it was kept separate to the matrimonial assets. In some cases, such assets can be “ringfenced” if there is enough equity elsewhere to meet the parties’ reasonable needs.  

If the asset cannot be ringfenced and there is no qualified nuptial agreement, it may become a part of the matrimonial pot.

What if I was gifted money for a house and got divorced?

This largely depends on the specific circumstances. In some cases these can be put outside of the matrimonial pot, specifically when the gift was intended as a loan or protected by way of a trust or a qualified nuptial agreement. It is best to seek legal advice from a family lawyer to help determine whether a gift can be protected.

If you are married and want to protect money gifted for a house, you should contact a solicitor to discuss your options. This is not something many happy couples like to address, as it brings up the possibility that the marriage may fail in the future. However, in the event that a couple do split, having an agreement already in place, can help to settle things more quickly, and with less tension.

How to protect a gift from divorce

It is advisable to seek advice from a family law solicitor at an early stage. They can talk you through your options for protecting gifts from divorce.

Holmes & Hills have experts on hand who have already assisted many complex and high value divorces. The Family Law department are recognised by the independent body, Legal 500, with Partner and head of the department, Carol Toulson being recognised as a Leading Individual.

Appointments can be made to consult with a divorce lawyer at any of our 7 offices: Colchester, Braintree, Witham, Sudbury, Tiptree, Halstead or Coggeshall.

Get specialist family law advice

Call us on 01206 593933 today to speak with one of our family law team.

Key Contact

Kuba Kubiszyn



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