Monday, April 16, 2012

Placing Property in Joint-Tenancy Does Not Always Mean Marital Property

Poll v. Poll, 2011 UT App 307, Utah Court of Appeals September 9, 2011

Husband and Wife were married in April 2005.  Wife had substantial amount of money in trust which she used to purchase the parties’ home.  Both parties were listed on the deed.  At divorce the trial court awarded the home in its entirety to wife because of her separate investment in the home.  Husband appealed.

The Court of Appeals found that under Bradford, a transfer of otherwise separate property to joint tenancy with the grantor’s spouse is generally presumed to be a gift and, when coupled with an evident intent to do so, effectively changes the nature of the property to marital property.  In this case, Wife lacked the evident intent to transfer the property to marital property.  The parties made substantial efforts to keep all their accounts separate, which bolstered Wife’s testimony that she had not intent of making the house a gift to the marital estate or to husband.  Affirmed.

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