After a Divorce, Can I Keep My Engagement Ring?
When a couple dissolves their marriage, they need to decide how to allocate their assets and debts. In Arizona, property and other assets that the couple obtained during the marriage are considered marital property. Marital property is to be distributed equitably between partners in a divorce. There may be some exceptions to the rule, and a spouse may wonder, after a divorce, can I keep my engagement ring?
Engagement Rings Are Symbolic of Love
An engagement ring is a symbol of love and devotion. The ring probably holds a lot of sentimental value, as well as monetary value. When a ring was given as a gift, prior to marriage, it may legally belong to the recipient alone as a “gift in contemplation of marriage.” In other words, the value of the ring would not be included when dividing up assets in a divorce settlement.
Engagement and Wedding Rings as Conditional Gifts
When it comes to engagement and wedding rings, they may be treated differently, depending on how they were given. An engagement ring is most often a gift, given in contemplation of marriage. If the marriage does not take place, the person who gave the ring may be entitled to have it back.. However, divorce is different. The wedding has already happened. Therefore, the ring likely belongs to the recipient. Wedding rings could be different depending on who purchased it, when, and with what funds.
Special Circumstances That May Apply
In some cases, a ring could be particularly important. For example, if the engagement ring is a family heirloom, and was in the giver’s family for a number of years, it may be expected that he will get the ring back if the couple divorces. But it was still gifted to the other spouse and that spouse would have a legal argument to keep it. In this situation, the best way to protect the item is to set clear expectations about what would happen to the ring in the event of a dissolution or legal separation by using a prenuptial agreement.
Help from an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Dividing property during a divorce can be complicated. It may be made more difficult when spouses disagree over important assets, such as engagement or wedding rings. One of the best ways to avoid arguments over these kinds of issues is to address them as quickly as possible. An experienced divorce attorney will provide you with assistance when working through these types of problems. Call the legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation to discuss your divorce case.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Can I Keep My Engagement Ring, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.