In mammalian fertilization, paternal chromatin is exhaustively remodeled, yet the maternal contribution to this process is unknown. To address this, we prevented the induction of mciotic exit by spermatozoa and examined sperm chromatin remodeling in metaphase II (mII) oocytes. Methylation of paternal H3-K4 and H3-K9 remained low, unlike maternal H3, although paternal H3-K4 methylation increased in zygotes. Thus, mII cytoplasm can sustain epigenetic asymmetry in a cell-cycle dependent manner. Paternal genomic DNA underwent oocyte-mediated cytosine demethylation and acquired maternally-derived K12-acetylated H4 (AcH4-K12) independently of microtubule assembly and maternal chromatin. AcH4-K12 persisted without typical maturation-associated deacetylation, irrespective of paternal pan-genomic cytosine methylation. Contrastingly, somatic cell nuclei underwent rapid H4 deacetylation; sperm and somatic chromatin exhibited asymmetric AcH4-K12 dynamics simultaneously within the same mII oocyte. Inhibition of somatic histone deacetylation revealed endogenous histone acetyl transferase activity. Oocytes thus specify the histone acetylation status of given nuclei by differentially targeting histone deacetylase and acetyl transferase activities. Asymmetric H4 acetylation during and immediately after fertilization was dispensable for development when both parental chromatin sets were hyperacetylated. These studies delineate non-zygotic chromatin remodeling and suggest a powerful model with which to study de novo genomic reprogramming.