Who gets the rings when married couples split?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2022 | Divorce, High-Asset Divorce |

Even though marriages end all the time, many divorcing couples have mixed feelings about calling it quits. After all, while you are heading quickly for an inevitable divorce, you have thousands of memories of happier times. These memories likely include your engagement and wedding days.

Few symbols have stronger ties to marriage than engagement and wedding rings. Furthermore, according to reporting from CNBC, engagement rings are worth an average of $5,900, likely making your ring a valuable asset.

Property division rules

As you may already know, divorcing couples must divide their marital assets. Because California is a community property jurisdiction, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have an equal ownership interest in everything you jointly own. Therefore, you can probably plan to receive roughly half of your marital estate when you divorce.

Separate property

While you usually must divide marital assets, you typically can keep any property that is not part of your marital estate. That is, you do not have to negotiate property division for separate assets.

Separate assets generally fall into three categories:

  • Property you inherited independently of your spouse
  • Items you owned before you married your husband or wife
  • Gifts someone gave specifically to you

Nuptial agreements

Because your spouse gifted your engagement and wedding rings to you, they are likely to be separate property you can keep after your divorce concludes. There is a caveat, though. If you have a legally valid pre- or postnuptial agreement that dictates what happens to your rings, you probably have to follow the agreement.

Ultimately, if you have some concerns about possibly losing your treasured rings during your divorce, it is critical to explore all your legal options as soon as possible.