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The Fate of Rings in Divorce: Legal Insights on Engagement and Wedding Bands

In a recent visit to a prominent mall jewelry store, I stumbled upon an intriguing offer: 18-month financing on their jewelry collection, including wedding and engagement rings. Naturally, a question arose – what happens to these precious symbols of love in the unfortunate event of divorce? Surprisingly, the answer I received was that the store wouldn't take the rings back, regardless of the circumstances.

So, let's delve into your rights when it comes to engagement and wedding bands if divorce becomes a reality.

As with many matters in family law, the answer isn't one-size-fits-all – it depends on various factors.

In the state of Florida, the engagement ring is classified as a conditional gift and is not considered marital property. This distinction arises because the ring was given before the marriage came into existence and becomes complete upon marriage. Therefore, if you possess a stunning 7-carat flawless D diamond engagement ring worth a small fortune and no prenuptial agreement, the recipient typically retains ownership of this valuable piece.

Now, the wedding band introduces a bit more complexity. Often viewed as a symbol of the marriage promise, the wedding band is categorized as marital property since it is exchanged at the onset of the marriage. The downside for the husband is that the wedding band is usually the less expensive of the two rings.

However, the benefit for the wife is that she can typically keep the traditionally larger and more valuable engagement ring as a gift.

But what if the husband wishes to reclaim the wedding band?

In cases where the parties cannot agree on the fate of the ring, the conventional approach is to have the jewelry, along with other valuable assets, appraised by a certified jewelry appraiser. Then, a decision can be made either to sell the item and divide the proceeds or to split the value, with one party retaining the ring and the other receiving cash or an equivalent property.

In light of these considerations, my advice to future spouses facing this dilemma is to carefully select the type of gem for your engagement ring. Opt for either a genuine diamond or a diamond substitute that you wouldn't regret losing in the unfortunate event of divorce. Your choice today can ease potential complications tomorrow.

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