Is a Wedding Ring Subject to Division in Divorce?

By Heather Frances J.D.

Unlike other pieces of jewelry, a wedding ring’s emotional value makes it a hot issue in many divorces. However, the law rarely considers emotions when it comes to property division, so your wedding and engagement rings typically are treated like any other property, even if they are family heirlooms. There are few clear-cut laws on this subject, so the result can vary between states and situations.

Length of the Marriage

Your ring’s importance may vary with the length of your marriage. Often, couples who divorce after a long-term marriage don’t argue over the ring, but couples who have been married only a short time may be more inclined to fight about who can keep the ring, especially if it was expensive to begin with. A spouse might be more likely to want his ring back after six months of marriage than he would be after many years. However, the length of the marriage rarely impacts the divorce court’s treatment of the ring.

Treatment as a Separate Asset

Typically, engagement and wedding rings are considered gifts from one spouse to the other, and gifts are usually considered to be the separate property of the receiving spouse, rather than marital property of both spouses. Since separate property is not usually subject to division by a divorce court, the value of your rings is not likely to be divided in your divorce.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Appreciation

If the ring has appreciated in value during your marriage, the appreciation might be divisible even if the ring itself is not. Of course, it’s unlikely the court will order the ring to be cut in half, so the ring may have to be sold, or other marital assets may be taken to balance out the value owed to the giving spouse. If you want to try to categorize your spouse’s ring or the appreciation as a marital asset, you probably will have to have the ring appraised to determine its value.

Family Heirlooms

Sometimes, the wedding or engagement ring given from one spouse to another is a family heirloom that carries more sentimental value than monetary value. Unfortunately, your state may not consider the emotional value of the ring, so the ring will be treated the same whether or not it is an heirloom. However, some courts do treat heirlooms differently and will order the return of a ring that was a family heirloom rather than a purchased one.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Do You Legally Have to Return the Engagement Ring if Getting Divorced?
 

References

Related articles

Tangible Property in Divorce

Tangible property is anything you can touch, including vehicles, houses and family photos. In a divorce, all tangible property that is part of the marital estate is subject to division during a divorce. Dividing up tangible property acquired during years of marriage can intensify emotional stress and drive up legal fees. Deciding what to do with the family home can be difficult, but it is easy to put a dollar value on it by having it appraised. Deciding who gets to keep sentimental items that might not be worth a lot of money can sometimes be more difficult.

How to Determine the Value of Possessions in a Divorce

During a marriage, it is easy to accumulate a lot of stuff. Both real and personal property are typically purchased jointly by married couples, so when the couple decides to divorce, all these items must be divided between them. Courts encourage couples to come to their own agreements about how to divide property and many do so. Methods of valuation vary depending on the nature of the property and whether your and your spouse are negotiating a settlement agreement or preparing for trial.

Are Ohio Divorce Laws Different After 10 Years of Marriage?

Long marriages often have more complex issues involving property division, child custody, child support and alimony than shorter marriages because couples have had more time to accumulate assets together. Ohio does not have any laws that specifically address divorces after marriages of 10 years or longer, but the length of a marriage can impact certain aspects of divorce settlement in Ohio, particularly property division and alimony.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Jewelry in a Divorce

Jewelry, especially wedding and engagement rings, can be important symbols of a marriage as well as valuable assets, so ...

Does a Spouse Get Increased Value in an Inherited Home in Divorce?

There are few black-and-white answers when it comes to inherited property in divorce. An inherited asset starts out ...

How Are Assets Divided in Michigan During a Divorce?

In community property states, the law demands that courts divide marital property 50/50 when couples divorce. In ...

How to Divide Money in a Divorce

Disputes over money can often lead to the breakup of a marriage, and when they occur, these disputes commonly persist ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED