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What Happens to a Wedding Ring After Divorce?


A wedding ring is a sign of commitment. Many hope to wear their rings forever. However, sometimes life has other plans. Maybe you decide several years after marriage that your husband isn’t the man you thought he was. Perhaps you’re facing an empty nest 20-25 years down the road and you no longer feel connected to your spouse. With gray divorces becoming more common, you may be retired in your 60s and discover your husband is boring or annoying.

If you’re married, there’s a possibility your marriage could end at any time—even when you least expect it. During your divorce, you may be dealing with property division, alimony, child custody and other issues. You may be worried about where you will live and how you will afford it. You may need another job to make ends meet. Divorce is a complex, stressful situation.

After your divorce, when the dust settles, you may now be wondering: what happens to the wedding ring? You probably don’t want to keep wearing it and be constantly reminded of your failed marriage. Do you keep it? Do you throw it away? Can you sell it? Should you give it back to your husband?

Ideally, you’ll want to discuss this during the divorce. First, you need to consider that some states have laws in place regarding who gets the wedding ring in a divorce. Some states consider the ring to be marital property and the value is therefore split in a divorce.  In California, New York and Illinois, on the other hand, the ring becomes the property of the bride once the wedding takes place. Florida tends to follow this same rule. It is considered a conditional gift, so if a woman is given an engagement ring and the wedding never takes place, then she should give it back.

Another thing to consider is whether or not the ring was an heirloom. Some rings are passed down from one generation to the next. If your wedding ring was given to you by your grandmother, then you should be able to keep it in the family. However, if your husband gave you a ring from his great-grandmother, then the ethical thing to do would be to give it back so it stays in his family.

If you and your husband agree that you can keep it, you can do with it what you want. You can throw it away. You can sell it and make some extra cash. You can repurpose it into a new jewelry piece or piece of art. You can even keep it for your kids. Think about the best way that will help you move on.

Seek Legal Help

Before you go tossing your wedding ring into a river or flushing it down a toilet, make sure you understand what laws, if any, are involved. There are also ethics to consider, particularly if the ring was from your husband’s family.

Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can guide you through the process and help you make the right decisions. Schedule a consultation today. Call 954-764-4330 or fill out the online form.




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