Wedding rings represent union and a couple's commitment to one another. However, rings can also be of high value and be considered a real asset. When a couple decides to divorce, what happens to their rings becomes a major topic of conversation. Some couples can come up with a decision on their own as to who will keep the ring. When a couple is unable to make this determination on their own, there are several measures the courts can take to see who will be awarded the ring.
Who gets to keep the ring has a lot to do with what assets are involved in the marriage. Most divorce settlements include a financial component that outlines how much money or what assets each party is requesting. If the ring is of extremely high value or you and your partner don't have many other assets together, the court could make a recommendation to include the ring in the settlement.
For example, take a couple with a long list of property, bank accounts and other assets. In this case, the value of the ring will probably be a minor factor, and provided there is no claim for the ring, it will likely not be included. However, for a couple whose only shared asset is a vehicle, the value of the ring might come into play, and the court could decide who gets to keep it.
Conditional Gift Clause
In some instances, courts view wedding rings as gifts. However, more importantly, they are sometimes viewed as conditional gifts. One example of a conditional gift would be a ring that was passed down as a family heirloom. For example, say the groom gave his wife a ring that was once his grandmother's. In this type of scenario, the court could decide to grant the groom the ring, regardless of the request of the spouse, because of its legacy.
Another example of conditional gifts has to do with the terms of the divorce. Say the bride purchased her husband's wedding ring; however, she was the petitioner for the divorce. Even if she requests that the ring be returned to her because it was a gift, some states have conditional gift clauses that would allow the groom to keep the ring simply because he was not the reason for the divorce.
Consulting with an attorney can help you better understand your rights as they pertain to your wedding ring and divorce. Whether you are seeking to keep your ring or want a ring returned to you, attorneys like Andrucki & King can assist you.