NH Divorce Attorneys: Inheritances, Gifts, and Pre-Marital Property in NH Divorce Cases

Portsmouth New Hampshire divorce attorneys and NH family law lawyers are often asked by clients involved in NH divorce cases about how property is divided between the parties.  While the answers are inherently case specific, some questions are common to many New Hampshire divorce cases in which experienced NH divorce lawyers and New Hampshire divorce attorneys are involved.  Read on.

Is my inheritance included in my New Hampshire divorce property settlement?

Yes.

“All property, whether owned individually or jointly, is considered marital property and subject to division by the New Hampshire family division court.”

A New Hampshire statute, RSA 458:16-a, governs what is considered marital property in New Hampshire divorce cases and how that property is divided.   All property, whether owned individually or jointly, is considered marital property and subject to division by the New Hampshire family division court.  The NH family division court is statutorily bound to presume that an equal division of property is an equitable division.  Consequently, one party’s inheritance is presumed to divided equally with the other party in New Hampshire divorce cases.  

However, a New Hampshire family division court has the discretion in NH divorce cases to find that an inheritance, while considered marital property, may be kept by the party who originally received it.  That is, if the NH family division court finds that an equal division of the parties’ marital property is not appropriate or equitable, it may award a disproportionate share of the inheritance, or all of the inheritance, to the party who originally received it.

Are monetary gifts given to me by my family included in my New Hampshire divorce property settlement? 

Yes.  Monetary gifts or valuable items of personal property are treated in much the same way as inheritances in New Hampshire divorce cases.  While each case is factually specific, some New Hampshire family division courts considered the extent to which the monetary gifts were co-mingled with other marital assets and/or used by the spouses in their day to day affairs.  Monetary gifts that have been kept in separately accounts and not accessed for marital expenses are more likely to be awarded to the party who originally received them.

Is property I acquired before the marriage included in my NH divorce property settlement?

Yes.  Pre-marital property is included in the marital estate in New Hampshire and is subject to the statutory presumption of a 50/50 division. However, the same analysis that applies to inheritances and monetary gifts also applies to pre-marital property. That is, the New Hampshire property division statute allows a New Hampshire family division judge to consider “the value of any property acquired prior to the marriage and property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage” if it determines that an equal property division is not appropriate or equitable.

Contact us – divorce attorneys in Portsmouth, NH and Dover, NH – with questions about property division in New Hampshire divorce cases.

Todd W. Stevens, Esquire

Attorney Todd W. Stevens is an experienced New Hampshire attorney with a state-wide practice in personal injury, family law and business law. Attorney Stevens regularly litigates cases in New Hampshire courts and is a sought-after advocate in complex cases. Attorney Stevens maintains a limited caseload and carefully selects his clients.

Posted in Law Blog

Contact

Dover Office

T.W. Stevens Law Firm, pllc
340 Central Avenue, Suite 203
Dover, NH 03820

Ph: (603) 749-6400
Fax: (603) 749-6401

Portsmouth Office

T.W. Stevens Law Firm, PLLC
101 Market Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Phone: (603) 749-6400
Fax: (603) 749-6401

credit cards