Divorce court determining who keeps wedding rings after divorce

Who Gets the Wedding Rings in a Divorce?

Trying to figure out who gets the wedding rings in a divorce? It all depends on the situation – though it is common for courts to rule in favor of the spouse who was gifted the ring, not the person who purchased it. Complicating the matter is the idea of marital property… things that were purchased together during the marriage. While these items are often easily split up, a wedding or engagement ring doesn’t fall under marital property in most cases. What this all boils down to is there is no set process for who gets to keep the ring and this is why it all depends on the circumstances of your divorce.

In many divorce cases which are the result of a couple simply growing apart, the determination of who gets to keep the engagement ring and wedding bands is pretty simple. The person that received the ring as a gift gets to keep it and it is theirs to do with as they please. This is justified by many courts as the ring being a gift that was given with the intention of a commitment, if the commitment was fulfilled, then the ring gets to stay with the person it was gifted to. This may vary from state to state depending on which states view the engagement rings and wedding rings as marital property and which ones do not.

When the divorce is the result of unfaithfulness, for example, almost all courts will rule in the favor of the wronged spouse with regards to keeping the ring. The court may also grant them additional marital property as well to compensate them in divorces due to infidelity. Another instance where the court may rule in favor of the spouse who purchased or gave the ring is when the ring is a family heirloom. Rings that fall into the category of a family heirloom are also often protected by prenuptial agreements and in some cases by inheritance laws. And speaking of prenuptial agreements, this is another way that the spouse who purchased and gifted the ring may be awarded it in the divorce. If this was part of the agreement from the beginning and was signed by both parties in a legally binding contract, the ring will go back to the purchaser.

Of course there are also the divorce cases that end amicably, where no one fights over who gets to keep the wedding ring in the divorce. In these cases, the ring may be appraised with the option for the spouse who keeps it to compensate the other spouse in money or other marital property. This is often the case for divorced couples with children who wish to keep the ring within their family or use it to make other jewelry for their children in the future.

While determining who is legally able to keep the wedding ring in a divorce may not be so cut and dry, ordering copies of divorce or marriage certificates  through VitalChek is. Whether you need a certified divorce certificate to change your benefits or name, VitalChek’s simple and secure online ordering process will let you get the vital records you need quickly!

1 Comments

  1. I don’t think any topic led to more controversy in my property class than who should keep the wedding ring after a broken engagement! But divorce provides another interesting situation. I prefer the conditional gift theory: once the spouses are married, the ring transfers ownership.

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