Often, the engagement and wedding rings symbolize the union between two
individuals. They come to signify the promise a couple makes to love,
honor, and support one another. However, they complicate matters when
a marriage ends and a divorce is imminent. Many divorcing couples wonder
who receives the rings after the split. In most cases, the one receiving
the rings gets to keep them, as they are considered gifts.
Rings as Gifts
Because California is a community and separate property state that accepts
no-fault divorces, rings are considered separate property. This means
that the one who gives the ring does so of their free will, thus it can
be difficult for them to regain it again after the divorce.
In other cases, the engagement ring is seen as a conditional gift. The
condition here would mean marriage. Therefore, if a couple breaks up before
they are married, the person who gave the ring may be able to get it back.
However, if an individual goes through with the marriage, it indicates
a compliance of expectations. However, in California, if a couple breaks
off the engagement because of something the person giving the ring did,
the one receiving may be eligible to keep the trinket.
Rings as Family Heirlooms
One of the few exceptions that might allow the giver of the ring to get
it back after a divorce is if the ring is a family heirloom. Family heirlooms
are considered separate from the communal marriage property. If the court
sees the history and sentimentality behind a ring that has been in a family
for a significant amount of time, they may require the ring owner to return
it to the original spouse who owned it.
At James D. Madden & Aruna P. Rodrigo, Family Law Attorneys, we understand how complicated and
stressful divorces can be. It can be painful to view objects that once
held so much significance as simply marital property. If you are going
through a divorce, contact our San Bernardino family law attorneys. We
can inform you of your rights and figure out the best plan for you. Call
today for a free consultation.