Under Pennsylvania law, a gift may or may not be a marital asset subject to division like other assets. Items brought into the marriage at the beginning by one party which are never gifted to the marriage, would likely not be subject to division. A vehicle or bank account to the title of which the other party’s name is never added are examples although if the non-title party contributed to the asset before the marriage, it could be considered a marital asset. For a gift to remain the sole and exclusive property of one party and not become a marital asset, it must be kept in the gift recipient’s sole name regardless of when it is acquired or from whom, even if from the other spouse (although there could be a successful argument if the spouse bought the gift with marital funds). The same thinking applies to an inheritance received by one spouse and kept in that spouse’s sole name.
Realty can be an exception to some degree. Let’s say that one spouse, before or during marriage, is given real estate in that spouse’s sole name, but that realty becomes the marital residence. The spouse whose name is not on the deed to the realty acquires a right to a fair share of the amount that the realty increases in value during the time the parties reside together. Conversely, if the party receiving the realty keeps it separate from the marriage and rents it and keeps the rents in a separate account, the realty, its increase in value and the rents would likely not be considered marital property.
So if you receive a gift to you and you don’t want it to become a marital asset to be divided in a divorce, keep it as separate as possible in all regards. Using even a portion of a gift for the benefit of the marriage could make the entire gift a marital asset.