Before your marriage, you probably either gave or got an engagement ring — and it may have been one of the most significant expenditures ever made in your relationship. That’s why couples who divorce often struggle with the question, “Who gets to keep the ring?”
Here are some facts that you can use to get your answers.
- The ring is probably considered separate property in Illinois.
State laws can affect this issue. In Illinois, the courts tend to see the engagement ring as separate property, given by one party in exchange for the other party’s promise to wed. Since that promise was fulfilled, the ring becomes the private property of the recipient.
- A family heirloom could be a different story.
If the engagement ring is a family heirloom, the courts may feel a little differently — but there’s no hard-and-fast guarantee. To settle the issue involving a heirloom ring, the recipient spouse may want to either ask for the ring’s approximate value as part of their share of the marital assets. Alternately, you and your spouse could agree to put the ring aside for one of your children, so that it stays in the family.
- A particularly valuable or sentimental ring could be a bargaining chip.
The ring’s value makes it a potential bargaining piece. It’s possible that the ring could change hands between you and your spouse as you trade it for something of equal monetary or emotional weight.
Dividing up your assets when you divorce can be a very emotional and complicated proposition — especially when it comes time to split one-of-a-kind items. Common sense, compassion and a little experienced legal advice can help.