Is a Pre-Marital Gift Part of the Marital Estate?
By Snyder & Sarno on May 21, 2015
In Iraldi v. Iraldi, a recent unpublished New Jersey Appellate Division case, Plaintiff appealed a trial court order that included the marital home and the land it was situated on as marital property. Plaintiff received some of the land from his parents prior to the couple’s marriage. After the couple married, they purchased other land that they then combined with the land that Plaintiff’s parents gave to him to build the marital home.
Defendant testified that Plaintiff acquired the property and the couple made plans for building the house around the time that they became engaged. The trial judge concluded that Defendant’s testimony was credible and that the land and home were built in contemplation in marriage. On appeal, however, Plaintiff argued that the land he received from his parents was a pre-marital gift that should not be subject to equitable distribution.
The Appellate Division began by recounting the general rule that property acquired by either party before marriage is not considered marital property. See Tannen v. Tannen, 416 N.J. Super. 248, 281 (App. Div. 2010). In addition, any property that is acquired as a gift or through an inheritance is generally considered to be separate property. N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(h). However, property acquired before the marriage could still be considered marital property if it is received in contemplation of marriage. See Winer v. Winer, 241 N.J. Super. 510, 527 (App. Div. 1990). Ultimately, the Appellate Division found that Plaintiff acquired the property with intent to use it in his marital partnership, and thus, it was subject to equitable distribution.
Related to This
"I was involved in a VERY complicated and tumultuous child custody, divorce, domestic violence case for two full years. I was fortunate enough to be represented by one of the top matrimonial teams in the state of NJ, and the outcome in my case exceeded my every expectation." - Former Client"Paul personally stood by my side and represented me throughout my injury case. Whether it was business at hand, advice, or a late night phone call to help me understand what was going on; he never took a step back towards helping me. I knew that I could call on him at any time . My case was very successful and I attribute that to Paul's dedication . He even came to me during a snow storm when I could not make it to his office. I certainly would recommend him to anyone." - Former Client