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What Happens to Engagement Rings During a Divorce?

Blogs from March, 2023

Engagement Rings

Engagement rings are often among the most expensive pieces of jewelry that a person owns. Moreover, because of their sentimental value, engagement rings can be a particularly contentious topic during a divorce.

If you're going through a divorce and wondering what will happen to your engagement ring, read on for some answers from our legal professionals at the Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C. Our divorce attorney has the experience and commitment to fight for everything you deserve.

Engagement Rings Are a Marital Asset

When a couple decides to marry, the engagement ring often marks the start of their journey together. As such, courts will consider the ring a marital asset in the event of separation or divorce. It is important to remember that while an engagement ring may have sentimental value, it is subject to division in most cases, so it is essential for couples to be aware that this could happen. It's equally important to note that each jurisdiction has different laws when it comes to handling asset division during a divorce, so it's wise for individuals entering into marriage or separation proceedings to become familiar with pre-existing legislation.

In Cases Where the Couple Can’t Agree, the Court May Intervene

When a couple is unable to agree upon who should get an engagement or wedding ring during their divorce proceedings, the court may use its discretion in determining how to best divide the asset. In some cases, the court may order that the ring be sold, and the proceeds split between the two parties in question. It is important to note that this applies to rings given before the marriage, not rings passed from generation to generation, as they are usually considered family heirlooms. Courts place a high emphasis on equity when deciding on who gets what in a divorce, so for your desired outcome to be reached, it is important to hire a skilled attorney.

Which Spouse Keeps the Ring?

In certain instances, the court may decide that it is appropriate for one of the spouses to retain ownership over the engagement of a wedding ring. This can be viewed as a form of compensation when there is an unequal division of other marital assets in a divorce decision. The court would then consider this asset in financial discussions between the two parties, ensuring an equitable agreement. While not always necessary, this form of recompense can be used to supplement other forms of compensation in cases where one spouse does not have the necessary assets to provide what is being asked by the other.

When Is An Engagement Ring Considered Separate Property?

If one spouse gifts the other an engagement ring prior to marriage, it generally remains under the ownership of that spouse in the event of a divorce. While individual state laws will vary, the ring is typically deemed "separate property" under matrimonial law and, therefore, not subject to a division of marital assets. In certain extraordinary circumstances, courts may grant equitable distribution and jointly divide the ring's value. However, this is only with extreme cause and highly dependent on the evidence presented in court. Understanding how courts approach separate property legalities can help couples plan for their financial future, which is why it’s important to hire a skilled attorney at all stages of the marriage.

Contributing Factors to the Court’s Ruling

Engagement rings are a valuable symbol of the commitment between couples, so it is not surprising that engagement rings are often contested when a marriage ends in divorce. Ultimately, it falls to the court to decide what happens to the engagement ring based on individual rulings and judgments. Of course, several factors must be taken into account, including the size of the ring (and therefore its worth,) its history, how it was acquired, and the respective financial statuses of both parties.

Considering all the many factors the court will take into account when looking at an engagement ring during a divorce, it's important to be prepared for any outcome. If you're going through a divorce and have questions about what will happen to your engagement ring, be sure to speak to an experienced divorce attorney who can advise you of your rights and help you protect your interests. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C., and start preparing for the future you deserve.

To reach the Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C. by phone, call (626) 653-4075. You can also click here to request a consultation online.