Can I Keep My Engagement Ring If I Get Divorced?
Divorce is a difficult process, emotionally and financially. In many cases you have spent years building a life with someone that you must now dismantle piece by piece over a matter of months. Chances are that when you were married you were not considering whether every item in your home and every financial choice you made would be considered communal or separate by a court, so the process can feel overwhelming. You might find yourself thinking things like, “what about my china?” or “What about my engagement ring?” While we may not be able to tell you who will get to keep the china, unless it was separately owned prior to entering the marriage, was inherited by one of the spouses, or was gifted to an individual spouse by a third-party, in which case it would be treated as separate property, we can provide far more clarity when it comes to the engagement ring.
Is an Engagement Ring Separate Property?
Like all other assets and debts in a divorce, the first question is whether it is separate or community property. Alabama is not a community property state where all marital property is divided 50-50, but the classification of separate versus community property is still highly critical. Any property that is classified as or presumed to be community property can be allocated to either party by the judge. Generally, gifts exchanged between spouses during the course of the marriage are considered to be community property, while gifts given to an individual spouse by a third-party are considered separate property. But an engagement ring is assessed a bit differently since it is given before the marriage starts. Courts have consistently treated an engagement ring as a gift that is given upon the condition of marriage. Because the condition was met by entering the marriage, the ring may be kept by the spouse to whom it was initially given. This is true even though the marriage is ending. It’s important to note that although wedding rings are exchanged at what is technically the start of the marriage, the same logic is generally applied by courts to wedding rings as to engagement rings. Because the wedding ring was given upon the condition of marriage and the marriage was entered into, the condition was met regardless of the ultimate outcome of the marriage. This may not be the case though if the marriage was fraudulently entered into. If you have specific concerns or a unique situation, it’s best to consult with an experienced divorce attorney to ensure that you are receiving information that accurately pertains to your specific case.
Schedule a Consultation with a Birmingham, Alabama Divorce Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce in Alabama, you do not have to navigate the process alone. At Peeples Law, we know that the process can be overwhelming, and we are ready to provide comprehensive and empathetic support while helping you through the process and acting as a fierce advocate for your rights and interests. Contact a Birmingham divorce lawyer at Peeples Law today to schedule a personalized consultation.