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In a RI Divorce Are Gifts Between Spouses Marital Property?


Are gifts that were purchased and given between spouses during our marriage considered marital assets and subject to equitable division in RI divorce? If yes, can you site the reference where it is stated in RI law.



Generally speaking, the answer is "Yes."  For the direct law you should look to R.I. General Laws § 15-5-16.1(b).  Read the very last sentence of paragraph (b).

Keep in mind that you are not looking for what the law says.... but rather, you are looking for what that last sentence doesn't say. Specifically pay attention to the fact that the law talks about gifts from third-parties as not being marital assets.  Yet the law did not say that about gifts between spouses.  Therefore, gifts between spouses are marital assets.

However, please note that while that is the "general rule", a good lawyer always checks to see if an exception may apply.

Exceptions to the general rule may occur when either the Rhode Island Doctrine of Commingling or the Doctrine of Transmutation apply.

In other words, the answer may depend upon the circumstances that follow and how the gift was treated by the parties after it was first given. Those circumstances may change the general "Yes" to a "No."


My Very Best to You in Addressing Your Family Law Issues,

Attorney Chris A. Pearsall aka "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."®


Serving Rhode Island Families exclusively in the Rhode Island Family Courts throughout our State for more than 12 years.

Call (401) 632-6976 for your low-cost paid advise session to make sure you know your rights.