In most cases, engagement rings stay with their recipients in spite of divorce. This is because the engagement ring was given to them as a gift before marriage; now that divorce is occurring, the ring is considered part of its recipient’s separate property.
When divorce is on the horizon, spouses may wonder about the engagement ring and how the divorce will affect this piece of property. This is understandable because an engagement ring may retain significant value or even be a treasured family heirloom. In either case, each spouse may have an interest in its fate.
Engagement Rings Are Separate Property
Separate property is any property someone received or otherwise owned before getting married. It can include a savings account, vehicle, real estate, and other items of significant value. Although someone must prove certain property should be separated from marital property for equitable distribution, this can be accomplished with help from an experienced attorney.
When one person wishes to propose marriage to someone else, it’s customary for the proposer to present their loved one with an engagement ring. Because the two parties aren’t yet married, the loved one’s acceptance of the gift makes it their own as separate property – even if divorce should occur later on.
What If We Never Got Married?
Legally, engagement rings are considered conditional gifts. This means that if a couple ends up not getting married after an engagement ring is given, then the recipient should return it to the giver.
This issue is all the more important if the ring is considered an heirloom in the giver’s family.
Heirloom Engagement Rings & Divorce
Unfortunately, there are no laws that protect the giver’s interest in a family heirloom engagement ring if the marriage occurs.
During a divorce, an engagement ring is very likely to be considered part of the recipient’s separate property whether or not it’s considered to be a family heirloom.
What If the Ring was Purchased with Joint Assets?
Sometimes people wait until after getting married to get a ring or add more material and gems to an existing ring. If joint assets are used to purchase a new ring or alter an existing one after marriage, then the value (or added value) of the ring may be subject to equitable distribution.
Do You Have Additional Questions About Divorce?
Kay Polk, Attorney at Law can provide clients with answers and guidance to questions about divorce. Her comprehensive knowledge of the law enables her to offer advice and assistance in a wide variety of situations, from drafting an agreement or filing for joint dissolution, to addressing complex issues like alimony and asset distribution.
She understands that facing the prospect of divorce is an emotionally daunting challenge, and her compassionate approach to the process ensures that each client is fully informed of their rights and options so they can make the best decisions for their future.
Learn more about how Kay Polk, Attorney at Law can help you by contacting us online.