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What happens to the heirloom engagement ring during a divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Divorce |

If you spend much time on social media, you have probably seen at least one lavish marriage proposal. Because you are not a flashy person, though, you decided to have a low-key one. Still, giving your bride-to-be your family’s heirloom ring ensured your proposal was memorable.

Even though you probably intended to be with your spouse forever, your marriage is now barreling toward an inevitable divorce. Because your heirloom ring means more to you and your family than it probably does to your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you may wonder whether you can get it back.

Property division

All divorcing couples must divide their marital estates. According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch, state law contemplates an equitable distribution. This means that while you may not get precisely half, you should end up with a fair share of everything you and your spouse own.

Separate property

Connecticut’s equitable distribution scheme applies only to marital property and not to separate property. Consequently, you and your soon-to-be ex can probably keep anything that belongs exclusively to you.

Unfortunately, because your heirloom ring was a gift you gave to your current spouse, the ring is probably separate property that is not subject to property division. As such, your future ex may have no legal duty to return the ring to you.

Marital agreements

That might not be the final say on the matter, though. If you have a pre- or postnuptial agreement that specifically addresses the ring, your spouse presumably must honor the agreement. Indeed, the agreement may require your spouse to return the ring in the event of a divorce.

Ultimately, though, if getting your heirloom ring back is important to you, you might have to give up another valuable asset in exchange for it.