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Ask the Lawyer By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.

| July 25, 2016

Dan Gwinn New Head ShotQUESTION: My husband and I married ten years ago. I had a premarital separate account that contained funds I had received as gifts from my parents and from my uncle. I spent some of these funds on items around the house that my new husband liked; it was understood I would re-pay my personal savings account later, which I did from another savings account that is also in my name, but to which my husband contributed. When my mother passed, I placed the sum I inherited from her in the “gifts” account. My husband and I are now thinking of divorce; can he get part of my gift account in the divorce?

ANSWER: The answer could, unfortunately, be yes. The second savings account, to which your husband contributes and which contains assets acquired during the marriage is marital property. Marital property is generally divisible by the court in a divorce decree.

Property that starts out as separate, and contains only assets acquired before the marriage or personal gifts acquired during the marriage, can lose its separate status if non-separate assets are added to it – that is, if it is commingled, or mixed, with marital property.

When you transferred money from your marital account – the separate account to which your husband contributes – you commingled assets in your gift account with your marital account. However, the entire account may not be subject to division if you are able to demonstrate that the bulk of the assets in the account are gifts. You may wish to consult with an experienced attorney in order to protect your separate assets in the event of a divorce.

The lawyers at GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC are experienced attorneys and are happy to answer your questions. Give us a call for a free initial telephone consultation about your legal needs. For consideration of your questions in our web column, please submit your inquiry on the “Contact Us” page of our website at

By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.

Attorney and Counselor at Law
901 Wilshire Drive, Suite 550
Troy, MI 48084
(248) 247-3300
(248) 247-3310 facsimile

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