Why don’t you get the engagement ring back in a divorce?
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Why don’t you get the engagement ring back in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2021 | Property Division

If you’re getting divorced, you may be interested in getting the engagement ring back from your spouse. You gave it to them when you asked them to marry you, but now they’re asking for a divorce, and you know the value of that ring. It feels unfair that they would get to keep an asset worth thousands (or even tens of thousands of dollars) if they’re the one who filed for divorce. 

In most cases, though, you can’t actually demand the engagement ring back. Here are two main reasons why engagement rings are usually not part of the assets addressed in a divorce. 

The ring was a conditional gift

First of all, an engagement ring is usually a conditional gift to one party from the other. Often, the condition on the gift is that the giver and recipient will get married — not that they will stay married forever.

You may be able to get a ring for a broken engagement, but not a broken marriage. Your spouse already met the condition of the gift when they married you, meaning the gift is rightfully theirs, even if they later asked for a divorce. 

The ring may be separate property

Your spouse may also argue that the engagement ring is separate property. You didn’t obtain it as a couple. Rather, you gave it to them before you were legally married, and they brought that expensive asset to your marriage. This may feel unfair because you paid for it, but that is the true chain of events. Marital property refers to things obtained after the marriage, not before. 

Understanding your rights in a divorce

If you are entering into a complicated divorce, you need to know your rights. As you can see, some issues may not get resolved the way many people assume. 

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