Many people spend thousands of dollars on an engagement ring, if not tens of thousands. Rings are seen as status symbols and declarations of love. They’re a very important aspect of a newly engaged couple’s relationship. They’re also very valuable, and that can lead to contentions if the couple ends up divorced after they wed — especially if the marriage was short.
A major part of the divorce process, of course, is dividing marital assets. But does the ring count as a marital asset? Who owns it: The person who wears it or the person who gave it to them? Who gets to keep it after a divorce?
Generally speaking, an engagement ring is a conditional gift
Most often, rings are not seen as marital property. They are seen as conditional gifts. The person who buys it offers it to the person who receives it as a token of their commitment — but only if the recipient agrees to marry. As long as the person who accepts the ring goes through with their bargain and gets married, the ring is a gift that becomes their personal property. They do not have to give it back and can keep it after the divorce if they so choose.
An engagement ring is treated as separate property because the court does recognizes neither dating nor engagement as a relationship status. Technically, the two people are single until they get married. Items owned before marriage are generally seen as separate property belonging to those individuals.
Sorting out the financial details of your divorce
It’s very important to understand all of your legal rights if you’re having trouble sorting out the financial details of your divorce. Understanding your rights to a fair share of the marital assets can help you bargain more effectively for a stable future.