New Hampshire Law on Wedding Rings After Divorce

by Teo Spengler
New Hampshire divorce law divides all property equitably.

New Hampshire divorce law divides all property equitably.

Spike Mafford/Photodisc/Getty Images

In New Hampshire, a spouse can seek either a no-fault divorce or a divorce based on the other spouse's fault. In either case, the New Hampshire court divides all of the couple's property -- whether acquired before or during the marriage -- according to an "equitable and just" standard. This includes engagement and wedding rings.

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Property Division

New Hampshire is not a community property state where each spouse has a 50 percent ownership in all marital property. Rather, the court is charged with dividing all of the property owned by both spouses equitably. This includes property the couple brought into the marriage, inheritances and gifts. The court is under no obligation to make the division equal, but must divide the entire estate according to the equities of the circumstances after considering such factors as the length of the marriage, the age and income of the spouses, and any fault established in the divorce.

Engagement and Wedding Rings

In community property states, rings given before a marriage are sometimes considered the separate property of the person receiving the ring rather than property subject to division in a divorce. Some courts evaluate them as conditional gifts that become the absolute property of the receiving spouse upon marriage. In New Hampshire, however, divorce courts divide all of a couple's property in an equitable manner, not just the marital or community property. Thus the award of the rings depends on the total property owned by the spouses and the other factors set forth in the state's property division laws.