Engagement and wedding rings are important pieces of jewelry for both sentimental and financial reasons. For many people, an engagement or wedding ring may be the most expensive piece of jewelry that they own. These pieces also carry a great emotional weight, as they are often considered a physical representation of a couple’s love for each other.
During and after a divorce, it is not uncommon to be conflicted about what you should do with your rings. While some people have no use for their rings and want to sell them immediately, others want to keep them as a reminder of the past. What you can (or must) do with the rings will often depend on your divorce case.
During a divorce, wedding and engagement rings may be valued as either separate or community property, depending on the circumstances and the judge. Sometimes an engagement ring might be considered a gift that pre-dates the marriage and is separate from the couple’s marital property. In other instances, a couple may have purchased their rings together with joint assets after dating or living together for years. In that type of circumstance, the judge may believe that the rings are marital property that should be split between the spouses.
Before you know how a divorce court will treat your rings, it is important not to sell them or give them away. If you sell a ring and a judge later decides that it was community property, you may be required to pay part of the proceeds to your soon-to be ex-spouse.
Once your divorce is finalized and you are free to what you want with the rings, you have many different options. Some choose to save their engagement rings in case a child wants to propose with it in the future. Others have no problem contacting the nearest jewelry store or pawn shop to find out its resale value. Some decide to donate the rings to charity.
Still other people have found more creative ways to handle their rings. Many jewelers are accustomed to re-designing jewelry made from wedding band or engagement rings, and some people choose to repurpose their marital jewelry into something new. People who were very hurt by their divorces often have small ceremonies where they bury their rings or tie them to a balloon to symbolize their new life. One woman went as far as to create an entire line of miniature wedding ring coffins where individuals can display their former rings.
No matter what you decide to do with your rings, the attorneys at Pacific Northwest Family Law are here to help. We will help you make a plan for all of your property, including your rings, and will work to negotiate a divorce settlement that reflects your family’s needs.
To schedule an initial consultation, contact Pacific Northwest Family Law today by calling 509-572-3700.