Are Wedding Rings Considered Marital Property?
The division of assets is often one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce. Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property in a divorce is divided fairly, but not always equally. It is based upon many factors. And, although it is clear that assets such as the family home is usually marital property, others are not always so easily classified. Wedding and engagement rings are assets that people often want to keep after the divorce, but they do not know if they will be able to. So, who gets the wedding rings in a divorce?
Gifts and Marital Property in Pennsylvania
With the exception of a few very specific items, gifts given to spouses during the marriage are typically considered marital property. This is due to the fact that when one spouse gives their partner a gift, they likely used marital funds to pay for it. Anything purchased with marital funds is considered marital property under Pennsylvania’s property division rules.
What Happens to the Wedding Rings in Divorce?
Although gifts between spouses are usually considered marital property during divorce, wedding rings are treated slightly differently. Wedding rings are usually purchased prior to the wedding and so, marital funds are not used to purchase them. As a result, a court may deem that the wedding rings are separate property, but this scenario becomes a bit more complex.
When a non-spouse has been given a gift during the marriage, such as an inheritance, the courts usually deem the gift as the separate property of the recipient. It is only considered marital where the spouse co-mingles funds or places the non-recipient spouse on a deed solely in the name of the recipient spouse. Due to the fact that wedding rings are usually purchased prior to the wedding before the two people are spouses, wedding rings are usually considered the property of the recipient.
If one spouse purchased both wedding rings, they can likely keep his or hers but will have to allow their spouse to retain their ring, as well. If both spouses contribute to the purchase of the rings, a court may determine that they are jointly owned and are considered marital property.
What Happens to the Engagement Rings in Divorce?
While determining what will happen to wedding rings in the event of divorce is challenging, determining what will happen to the engagement rings is even more complex. Engagement rings are considered conditional gifts because they represent a promise to marry. A person cannot fulfill that promise until after the wedding and so, some courts consider engagement rings to be marital property. However, other courts have determined that because an engagement ring is a gift given prior to the wedding, it should be considered separate property of the recipient spouse if the marriage occurs.
Our Pennsylvania and New Jersey Divorce Lawyer can Help You Secure the Settlement You Deserve
Wedding and engagement rings are just two types of assets that make property division issues extremely complex. If you are getting a divorce, our Philadelphia divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane can advise on your case. Attorney Kane understands the law and how it applies to your case, and she will work tirelessly to help you secure the settlement you deserve. Call us today at (215) 918-9453 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.