An engagement ring is the symbol of hope for a future of love and fidelity in a marriage. So when you’re getting a divorce, it may be the last thing you want to see ever again. Can you sell your engagement ring? The answer depends on the timing.
After You Get Married the Engagement Ring Becomes Marital Property
When you get divorced, all property you own jointly with your spouse is divided up as marital property. This includes almost anything you acquire during the marriage. While an engagement ring is given from one partner to another before the marriage technically begins, it is a conditional gift given in the expectation of a wedding. When the couple marries, the condition is fulfilled and the gift becomes part of marital property.
That means it will be divided up just like your furniture and funds in bank accounts. So, you might get to keep the ring while your partner keeps something of equal value. Once your divorce is finalized, you are free to sell the ring. Or you and your soon-to-be ex could decide to sell the ring and split the proceeds before the property division process is completed. Because the ring technically belongs to both partners, the decision about how to handle it should be made jointly unless the divorce has been finalized.
Fault Can Make a Difference
Property is not divided equally in divorce—it is divided “equitably.” That means courts have some leeway in deciding what is fair when it comes to dividing up property.
In Massachusetts, courts are allowed to consider a spouse’s misconduct when determining an equitable division of property. If one spouse had an extra-marital affair, the other might be allowed to keep the ring without forfeiting any other property.
When an Engagement Ring is a Family Heirloom
When one partner presents the other with an engagement ring handed down through the family for generations, it can be hard to think of this ring being sold off or treated with no more respect than the toaster oven. The best way to protect an heirloom engagement ring is with a prenuptial agreement.
If the recipient of the heirloom gift committed some form of marital misconduct, an argument could be made that the giver should be entitled to have the ring returned. There is no binding precedent on the subject, but appealing to a judge’s sense of fairness could pay off.
Work with an Experienced Attorney to Protect Your Property in Divorce
Because our state’s equitable stance on property division in divorce gives courts flexibility in awarding property like engagement rings, it can be very helpful to work with an attorney who is prepared to create strong arguments in favor of your desired outcome.
At Koiles Pratt Family Law Group, we strive to protect our clients’ interests at all stages of divorce proceedings and help them achieve the objectives that mean most to them. If you want to enjoy the personal satisfaction of selling your engagement ring, we will work to get you that opportunity. If you just want to get the maximum value for that asset, we will endeavor to help you secure the best deal in your settlement. Schedule a confidential consultation with us to find out how we can assist in your case.