You’re getting a divorce, what about the engagement ring?

When a couple decides to end a marriage, how some things will be split can be straightforward. But, there are some questions about which San Francisco couples heading for divorce need to think about — some things which may not have simple answers — like, for instance, what will happen to an engagement ring? The answer is not as easy as one might think.

Agreeing is best

Suffice it to say, that agreeing on what should happen to what is likely a very expensive token of love would be the ideal situation, but that’s not always possible. If a couple is at odds about the engagement ring, its future is in the hands of a family court judge who will have to decide if the ring is community or separate property.

Separate or community property?

In California, most judges have been ruling that an engagement ring is actually separate property and therefore after the couple marries, is considered to belong to the bride alone. However, there could be circumstances in which that may not be the case. In some instances, it can get rather complicated. For instance, the ring could be an heirloom of the groom’s family and so may be considered to be an inheritance and a judge could order it to be returned to the groom. Even so, the bride may have claim to part of its value.

Sometimes the answer to the ring question isn’t as clear as the diamond itself. It would be wise if each spouse sought independent legal advice from a San Francisco attorney experienced in matter of divorce. Based on a client’s personal circumstances, a lawyer may be able to offer some helpful advice.