An expensive engagement ring generally remains with the individual who received it in exchange for accepting a marriage proposal. During the wedding, the ring’s recipient has followed through with his or her promise to get married, as explained by Forbes magazine. He or she may then keep the engagement ring after a divorce.
A wedding ring, however, may classify as part of the couple’s marital property, and keeping it may require a court order. All property and assets purchased after a couple’s marriage belong to both spouses. During a divorce, the two spouses need to divide their assets and property fairly between them.
If two newlyweds purchase their rings together after exchanging their wedding vows, the rings generally qualify as their marital property. One spouse has the right to request that the other spouse buy the ring or pay its fair value when the marriage dissolves.
Why would an ex-spouse need to return a wedding ring?
Under Tennessee’s equitable distribution law, a family court judge divides the couple’s marital property between the two spouses based on what he or she determines to be fair. Separate property, however, remains with each spouse because it belongs solely to one individual. This includes property that belonged to a spouse before the marriage, any gifts received individually and items obtained through an inheritance.
A ring that a spouse initially received as an inheritance qualifies as his or her separate property and the other spouse wearing it may need to give it back. If one spouse paid for a set of wedding rings with his or her own separate funds after exchanging vows, an agreement stating that the ring is a gift to the bride or groom may help avoid a dispute.
How could an agreement avoid conflict?
During a divorce in Tennessee, a couple needs to divide marital property in a fair manner. Without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, a spouse may need to give back assets that belong separately to the other spouse.