Who Gets the Engagement Ring After Divorce?
While many couples agree that a former spouse can keep an engagement ring, even after divorce, it is also not uncommon, especially in short-lived marriages, for the spouse who purchased the ring to ask for it back. This is usually an uphill battle, as courts generally consider engagement rings to be a gift that occurred prior to the marriage, which means that they qualify as separate property and so must remain in the sole possession of the recipient. This is only one of the many difficult issues that couples must grapple with when dividing their assets upon divorce, so if you have questions about who will retain ownership of your own ring, or another asset after your marriage is dissolved, please contact an experienced property division attorney who can address your concerns.
Engagement Rings as Conditional Gifts
Florida courts have consistently held that engagement rings are conditional gifts, or a gift that is revocable if the recipient doesn’t fulfill the conditions attached to it. In the case of an engagement ring, the condition is that the receiving spouse will marry the spouse who proposed. For this reason, if a wedding is called off by the recipient or by mutual consent, the ring should be returned to the other party. If, however, the giver of the ring is the one who called off the wedding, the recipient could retain possession of the ring, as he or she was not responsible for breaking the contract.
If, on the other hand, the marriage actually took place, the condition attached to the engagement ring would be considered fulfilled, so it would be reclassified as a premarital gift, meaning that it doesn’t fall under the category of marital assets and so doesn’t have to be divided equitably upon divorce. Unfortunately, this is true even if the wedding ring was a family heirloom, unless a premarital or postmarital agreement provides otherwise, so those who propose with a ring that is a family heirloom or a valuable antique are encouraged to enter into a premarital agreement if they want to ensure that the ring stays in the family regardless of the fate of the marriage.
It’s important to note that the rules regarding conditional gifts only apply to engagement rings, which are given before the wedding takes place. For this reason, wedding bands, which are typically exchanged during the ceremony itself, could still constitute marital property and so would need to be returned to the giver upon divorce, or sold, in which case, the proceeds would be divided equitably between the parties.
Contact Our Property Division Legal Team Today
Please contact experienced and compassionate Fort Lauderdale property division attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today if you have decided to get divorced and have questions about who will retain your engagement ring or another valuable asset that was given to you as a gift. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact our legal team online today.