• Evan Kass

Engagement vs. Wedding rings-- Who Gets What?

I was in a prominent mall jewelry store recently and they were advertising 18-month financing on their jewelry including wedding and engagement rings. I asked them, if a couple were to get divorced would they take the ring back if it were within the finance period or even just in general. The answer was no. They don't even buy the rings back.

So what are your rights when it comes to the engagement or wedding bands if you were to get divorced?

Like many of the answers in family law, the simple answer is.... it depends.

In Florida, the engagement ring is considered a conditional gift and not part of any marital property as it was given before the marriage existed and completed upon getting married. This means if you have that 7-caret flawless D diamond engagement ring worth $$$$$$$ and no prenup .... The recipient may keep a flawless D diamond engagement ring.

The wedding band is more complicated. Given as a promise of the marriage. The wedding band is considered marital property since it is given contemporaneously with the start of the marriage. The down side for the man is that the wedding band tends to be the cheaper of the two rings.

The benefit for the wife is she can keep the traditionally larger and more valuable ring as a gift.

What happens if the husband wants the wedding band back?

The traditional approach if the parties can't agree would to have the jewelry and possibly other valuables appraised by a certified jewelry appraiser. Then either selling the item or splitting the value with one party keeping the ring and the getting cash or a property equivalent.

So, my advice for the weary future spouse when deciding to buy an engagement right would be to decide what kind of rock to put in it…. A real diamond or a diamond substitute that you won’t feel bad losing if you should get divorced.


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