In California, the court determines which spouse gets the gift--the one who gave it, the one who received it, or both. If a gift is awarded to either the receiving spouse or the giving spouse, that spouse keeps it in its entirety as his or her separate property, and there is no offset to the other spouse for the value of the gift. If it is community property, the value of the gift is awarded to each spouse equally. In most divorces, a gift is awarded to the spouse who received it.
To determine which spouse is awarded the gift, the court analyzes whether or not the gift is "substantial in value taking into account the circumstances of the marriage" (
California Family Code Section 852(c)
). The closer it resembles the parties' station in life, the more likely that the courts will award it to the spouse that received it.
The court will also ask if the gift was used principally by the spouse that received the gift. If the was used by the receiving spouse, the court will be more likely to award it to the receiving spouse.