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You Want a Divorce? Give Me the Ring Back!

More and more often we are hearing from aggrieved husbands in a divorce proceeding if they can get their wife’s engagement ring back.

According to the Husbands, that symbol of their forever love that cost them two-to-three months salary (is that how much it is supposed to be?) should come back to them because the marriage – it turns out – did not last forever.  A promise was broken.  And to be made whole, Husband needs the ring back so they can return / pawn / cry over it / melt it down.

The ring comes with the Husband, so to speak.  It was BOGO.  If you don’t want your hubby you cannot have the ring that he chose.

A a contingency, then.  Do you stay in your miserable marriage to keep that super pretty jewelry?  Turns out, you don’t have to!

Ladies, you can divorce him AND keep the ring!

The law in RI is that gifts are non-marital, meaning that when Husband gifts Wife an engagement ring Husband made it non-marital and thus not subject to distribution at the divorce.  The ring is hers. Wife can keep it in the divorce WITHOUT the value of the ring at the corner pawn store counting against her pile.

For example, if Husband has a 401(k) valued at $40k, Wife has a 401(k) valued at $36k, and Wife keeps the engagement ring valued at $4k then all is not even – technically, Husband should still turn over to Wife $2k from his retirement to make the scales balance.
There is a benefit to doing things this way.  Wives keep the engagement rings, which they inevitably sell or trade in for credit at a jeweler whereas if the Husbands kept the rings I have a sneaky suspicion it would end up in a junk drawer until the next spouse comes around.  And, really, what wife wants to wear her ex’s engagement ring?  This plan keeps the local jewelry stores in business.

Parties who want to plan what to do with the engagement ring (and all the other assets) should execute a pre-nuptial agreement BEFORE the marriage, or a post-nuptial agreement AFTER the marriage.

Careful who you gift a ring to!

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