Loan vs. Gift…Another Big Divorce Issue.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Oftentimes, when a marriage is beginning or is intact, parents of one or the other spouse offers to buy the couple a house, or assist with a home  purchase by giving them the necessary funds.  Years later, when a divorce is imminent, the son or daughter who received the funds often claims in divorce papers that the money was a loan, meant to be paid back to the parents.  The issue is whether this money was a loan or a gift to the marriage.

Obviously if it was a bona fide loan, a promissory note is the evidence.  Also, years of payments or attempts made to repay the loan is evidence.  Barring that, the argument is strong, that it was a gift to the couple and became a marital asset in the house.

Upon the divorce, if it was a bona fide loan, the couple repays the parents prior to splitting any net sale proceeds.  If it is a gift, the parents recoup nothing and the spouses just spit the proceeds upon the sale of the marital home. 

For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at

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