What Happens to a Wedding Ring After a Divorce?

What Happens to a Wedding Ring After a Divorce?

In a divorce, one of the biggest areas of concern is the assets. Who gets the cars? What about the house? Can you keep your TV? Will you have to split your savings account? Will you and your spouse share custody of your beloved pooch?

There is one item that many couples overlook, and it is probably one of the most sentimental assets of all — the wedding ring. At the time, your wedding was probably the happiest day of your life. You married a man or woman with whom you wanted to spend the rest of your life. You probably picked out your wedding ring yourself. That circular piece of jewelry once signified a happier time in your life. Now that you are in the midst of a divorce—or maybe you divorced years ago—you may wonder what happens next for your wedding ring.

Obviously, you do not want to continue wearing it because you are no longer married. You want to show the world you are moving on, so you need to find an option that is in line with this feeling. What is the right thing to do? Should you give it back to your spouse? What would be the ethical choice, given that your ex-spouse likely spent a huge chink of change on this piece of jewelry? What does the law say about it?

For the most part, no. The laws surrounding rings typically involve engagement rings rather than wedding rings. For example, in California, an engagement ring is looked at as a promise for marriage. If the wedding never happens, then the recipient of the engagement ring is obligated to give the ring back. In Texas, however, an engagement ring becomes the property of the recipient, whether or not the wedding takes place. Fault may also determine ownership of the engagement ring. For example, if the man gives a woman a ring, and he cheats on her or abuses her before the wedding, she is allowed to keep the ring, free and clear, whether or not she goes through with the wedding.

However, ethics are involved, as well. If your husband gave you a ring that was a family heirloom, then it would not be right to keep it. As a matter of decency, you should give it back in a divorce, since you are technically no longer considered family.

Other than that, there are no established rules for wedding ring etiquette. You can choose to do what you want with your ring. Some people choose to keep their rings as a reminder of the happier times in their life, especially if they are still on good terms with their ex-spouse. However, most people want to move on after a nasty divorce, especially since the ring now symbolizes a failed relationship. They want a fresh start, and that means getting rid of the ring.

But how? Do they simply throw it in the trash or flush it down the toilet? Do they have a dramatic display where they toss it into the ocean? Some do, but there are other options.

You can repurpose your ring. You can have it redesigned any way you choose. Some people make a whole new ring out of it and maybe wear it on their pinkie finger, while others make a bracelet or necklace out of it. You can even keep the ring as is, in its current state, and give it to your children when they get married.

Go online and you will find other options. Some are creative, like creating a piece of art out of their ring. Other options are a little weird, like buying a coffin to place your ring inside and display in your home. So, whether you have a dark sense of humor or want to display your creativity, the sky’s the limit.

In need of cash? You can sell your wedding ring. There are sites such as Worthy that can help you sell your ring. You can try to sell it yourself through online sites such as eBay and Craigslist. You can also sell it to a pawn shop or local jeweler.

You can donate it to a worthy cause. Many charities would love to have such a nice piece of jewelry they can sell or auction off to raise money.

If you are being especially generous, you could simply give it back to your ex-spouse. This is an especially nice gesture if the ring was very expensive.

There are many things you can do with a wedding ring you no longer want to wear or keep in your house. You may want to check with your divorce lawyer to see if there are any laws involved first. Once you do, feel free to choose the option that best fits your personality as well as the message you want to send to others as you move forward from a marriage that did not work out as expected.

Seek Legal Help

A divorce can create a lot of drama as it is, so do not let the future of your wedding ring be another source of stress in your life. Many women (and men) decide to hold onto their rings for a while, until the dust of their divorce settles. There are laws and ethics involved, so make sure you take some time to make the right decision.

If you are ready to end your marriage, reduce stress with help from Palm Beach divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler. He can offer solid advice for all your post-divorce issues. Schedule a consultation today by calling (954) 346-6464.