Kajko, Weisman & Colasanti, LLP

What happens to my engagement ring in the event of a divorce?

If you are getting divorced, there are many obstacles that can stand between you and the equitable division of your assets.

For instance, you and your ex can disagree over who owns a particular piece of property, like an engagement ring. If you are getting divorced, you may be wondering what is going to happen to that particular object.

In Massachusetts, there are laws that provide critical guidance in this area. Generally speaking, the recipient of an engagement ring can keep it in a divorce.

An engagement ring is considered a pledge to marry. Once a couple marries, the pledge is completed and that ring typically becomes marital property, meaning it is shared by the married couple. Based on the value of the ring, the courts can award the ring (or its value) to the recipient and award an item of equal or similar value to the other spouse. You could also decide to sell the ring and then split the cost.

If a couple never marries, however, the courts may determine that the ring be returned to the giver. This is because the contract symbolized by the ring was never fulfilled, which means that the giver can recover the ring. However, this decision will be based on factors like what is fair and who is to blame for the terminated engagement.

But let's imagine you got married years ago and are now getting divorced. You might agree that you should be the one to keep the ring; you can still disagree on the value of it. This often happens when items hold sentimental value as well as monetary value. In these situations, a financial professional may need to be consulted, and you may need to discuss adjusting other elements of your property division settlement.

Considering how much tension and anxiety can come with one single item during the property division process in a divorce, it is not surprising that people quickly get confused and overwhelmed during this step. This is why it can be crucial to have an attorney by your side who can help you navigate this process and ensure you end up with a fair, satisfactory divorce settlement.

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