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Is an engagement ring property to be divided in divorce?

Equitable division in St. Charles, Missouri, usually involves the division of marital properties such as real estate, bank accounts and business assets. However, with the rising costs of commodities nowadays, there are some divorcing spouses asking if the wedding rings or the engagement ring is a property that should be divided in divorce.

Although engagement rings are the symbol of marital bliss and the commitment of a spouse, the value of the ring becomes a concern in the event of a divorce. This is not surprising if a spouse spends thousands of dollars to propose. Under such circumstances, the answer depends on the situation as well as the decision of the court.

There are some states where the courts consider an engagement ring a promise of marriage. If the marriage happens, the bride keeps the ring; however, if the wedding does not take place or the ring is a family heirloom, the bride must return it. In instances where the future groom calls off the wedding, the ex-fiancée gets the ring, regardless of the reason behind the break up. Other states consider an engagement ring a pre-marriage gift. That means that the ring is a separate property of the wife, exempting it from property division in divorce.

Either spouse can be emotionally attached to the engagement ring, of course. An engagement ring, although small, may be a big issue in the event of divorce, just like other marital assets and properties subject to being divided in property division.

From a piece of jewelry to expensive artwork to other marital assets, they are all important factors in resolving property division in Missouri. These properties should be evaluated in accordance with the state's divorce laws. That way, each spouse is better assured their fair share.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Give me my ring back! (Who gets the wedding rings in a divorce)," Natalie Gregg, Sept. 23, 2013

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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