Can I Keep My Wedding Ring After Divorce?

Hands of caucasian female who is about to taking off her wedding ring. Visual concept for blog article: Can I Keep My Wedding Ring After Divorce?

While the engagement ring is symbolic of a promise to marry, the wedding ring represents a couple’s commitment to each other. Unfortunately, not all marriages work out — and if you are considering divorce, you might be wondering what to do with your wedding ring or engagement ring. Importantly, what to do with your rings after divorce is just as much a legal question as it is an emotional one.

Understanding Who Gets What in Divorce

Before considering what to do with your wedding ring after divorce, it’s essential to have an understanding of how property division is handled during the process. Couples are free to enter into a settlement agreement that addresses what will happen to their property — but if they cannot agree, a court will determine the outcome. In Missouri, courts apply the doctrine of equitable distribution when it comes to dividing marital property and assets. This doesn’t necessarily mean that property will be divided equally, but instead, in a way that is deemed fair to both spouses.

Significantly, only marital property is subject to division in divorce. Property that was acquired by either spouse before the marriage is considered separate property and is not divided during the divorce process. Separate property remains with the original owner.

What Happens to the Wedding Rings After Divorce?

Determining whether a ring is marital property can be complex. It must first be determined when and how the ring was acquired. If the rings were purchased prior to the marriage, they are considered separate property and each spouse would get to keep their ring after divorce. While gifts received before marriage are non-marital property under Missouri law, a wedding ring becomes a completed gift upon marriage — but since it would be considered a gift nevertheless, it would be awarded to the spouse who received it.

In most circumstances, a spouse would keep their wedding ring. In the rare situation where the wedding rings were only acquired after the couple was married, they would be subject to Missouri’s equitable distribution laws. If a wedding ring is considered marital property, there are a few options spouses might consider when it comes to dividing it:

  • The wedding rings can be sold and the profits can be divided between the spouses
  • Each spouse can keep their own wedding ring after divorce
  • One spouse can keep both wedding rings and factor this into the equitable distribution of marital property when negotiating a settlement agreement

In cases where the wedding ring was a family heirloom, it might be considered a spouse’s inheritance. Inheritances are not divided during the divorce process. Rather, anything inherited by a spouse is considered separate property and remains with the original owner after divorce.

Who Gets the Engagement Ring in a Divorce?

Under Missouri law, an engagement ring is considered non-marital property since it is a gift that is given to one spouse before the marriage. A court would recognize it as the separate property of the party who received it. Notably, no matter how much the engagement ring is worth, this is a piece of property that the parties typically cannot fight over during the divorce process as it would not be subject to division.

Can a Prenuptial Agreement Impact What Happens to the Wedding Ring?

A prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement can impact how property is divided in divorce, including wedding and engagement rings. If a couple entered into a valid prenuptial agreement before the marriage or a postnuptial agreement after the marriage that addressed what would happen to the rings, it would determine the outcome. Depending upon what the document specified, one spouse might be entitled to the rings— regardless of whether they would have been considered marital property otherwise. Missouri courts would generally uphold a prenup or postnup entered into by the couple as long as it was signed, entered into voluntarily, conscionable, and fair to both parties.

What to Do with a Wedding Ring After Divorce

The question of what to do with a wedding ring after divorce can be emotionally overwhelming for many people. If a wedding or engagement ring is separate property and you get to keep it, you have many options. For instance, you might consider keeping it in a safe place to later bequeath to your children. You may also want to sell it to start your new life, contribute to the down payment on a new home, take a vacation, or fund a business venture. Other people choose to repurpose their wedding or engagement rings into a new jewelry item.

Contact an Experienced Missouri Divorce Attorney

If you are considering divorce, it’s vital to have legal counsel by your side to ensure your rights are protected — and you enter into a fair property division settlement. Divorce and family law attorney Mark A. Wortman provides reliable counsel to clients in the greater Kansas City, Missouri area for divorce and equitable distribution matters. To schedule a confidential consultation to learn how he can assist you, please contact him today online or by calling (816) 523-6100.

Categories: Divorce