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High asset divorce: What about that expensive engagement ring?

| Mar 11, 2021 | Divorce |

Deciding to end a marriage is never an easy decision. There are so many issues to figure out, especially in a high asset divorce situation. When a promise of marriage has been made, it’s usually customary to give an engagement ring and it might be that when the decision to divorce has been made, that engagement ring is still on a spouse’s finger. It’s also likely, too, the ring is worth a sizeable amount of money. Couples in these cases in Virginia might want to know what actually happens to the engagement ring and the answer isn’t cut and dried.

It all depends

The laws regarding keeping expensive gifts varies from state to state and they’re not always clear. The best case scenario is when the spouses can agree on what happens to the ring, but a judge will make the decision if that is not possible. If the engagement ring is a family heirloom, it may not be included in marital assets and might be ordered to be returned to the family from where it came. In this case, it might not be possible to keep the ring, but the one to whom it was given may be entitled to a portion of its appraised value.

How does the ring’s value fit into the financial picture?

The person to whom the ring was given might be counting on its value for financial health. If the value of the ring is important in that respect, that spouse might want to have it included in the divorce settlement. If the emotions attached to the ring are too raw, experts say it can always be sold, repurposed or gifted to a child.

When it comes to objects of much value like an engagement ring, it might be wise to seek independent legal advice from a Virginia lawyer experienced in high asset divorce. Is the ring separate property or marital property? It’s not always clear in some instances and it is best if both parties understand how the law pertains to their individual situation.