When love’s through, invest on your bijoux: Divorce Edition

The future is uncertain, so we cling to the past for the sense of familiarity. What if the familiar past just brings so much pain and sorrow? That’s when you focus on the present because that’s what is best for you. 

Before divorce, the wedding ring, engagement necklace, etc., would earn value—sentimental value, but after divorce, the wedding ring gains another value—monetary and disposal value.

When it’s time to toss in the towel and declare it a failed marriage, there’s a little victory in investing in your jewelry.

The truth is…

As a couple, you get to decide whether to terminate the marriage legally, fight over the custody of children, etc., but the liberty does not come from the couple on what to do with the ring. While some states are more liberal in their rules or are vague in details about what happens to jewelry after divorce, there are also court decisions and precedents that determine it. Constitution and State laws, most often, possess mandatory authority, but if there are gaps and obscurity, the Court refers to persuasive but not binding authority. Authority, treatises, and legal encyclopedias, to mention a few.

What to do with gifted jewelry after divorce?

Give it back to the one who gave it.

In some jurisdictions, your ex mother-in-law’s jade bracelet or your ex-husband’s engagement ring can be returned to the one who lent it as a gift. Under Family Law, it depends on the marriage settlement or the division of assets. This includes the ring.

Unless it’s a family heirloom…

According to law, it may not need to be returned to the family from which it came. Or, if the ring has been in the care of the groom’s family for decades, its disposition is dictated in accordance with the manner inheritances are done.

Since it’s no longer part of conjugal assets, the court may rule that it be returned to the groom’s family. His grandmother’s ring, for example, is returned since the giving is rather symbolic of the wife being part of the family or being the one who traditionally takes the male’s surname.

The catch is you may not get the physical ring but instead be entitled to its apportioned value.

Ask expert advice

You can ask for advice from different fields of expertise concerning the matter of knowing who gets and what is done with jewelry after divorce, but we’ll limit ourselves to legal experts at the moment.

Legally speaking, the institution of marriage is complex and layered. Here’s some backdrop:

From a divorce lawyer: 

  • Pre-marriage or Marriage ‘Almost’

When a wedding’s canceled before marriage has taken place. Ouch, it didn’t even begin yet. A few states mandate that the engagement ring is given to the one who purchased the ring. Not the one who chose it.

At any rate, in California, Texas, and Washington, the ring is a tacitly considered a conditional gift, and the spouse-to-be who is left at the altar can decide whether to claim the ring as reparation for the wasted investment in preparations and everything. In Montana, the law regards wedding rings as an unconditional gift. Before the marriage is solemnized or after but before divorce, the legal efficacy surrounding who keeps the ring is determined by the state of residence.

Sadly, the legal system in the USA is built to anticipate divorce and not to uphold the sanctity of marriage. Anyway, that’s the sad reality, and even more unfortunate is the fact that wedding rings and other jewelry are only seen as an “inchoate gift” to a prospective spouse. Inchoate means preparatory and not fully formed or established.

The wedding ring is generally viewed as separate property when it comes to being divorced as opposed to being married.

  • Post-Marriage or After Divorce

A divorcee can opt to:

Store it

Keeping or tucking it away in a jewelry box is usually the option when the divorce has not dawned on you yet. Wedding or engagement rings and a couple of other jewelry pieces your ex-partner or your family gave you as a wedding gift are things you probably wear regularly as a symbol of eternal love, right? It’s difficult to grasp that it’s not eternity after all. By storing, you can also pass it later on to your children to give the jewelry another meaning which could be that love never runs out, just passed on, or ever-growing that it outgrows some people. Store it until you’re ready to sell it, perhaps…

Repurpose it

It’s not that you hate the 24k ring on your finger; it’s only because you hate what it reminds you of. Turn your ring into new jewelry pieces or embellishments such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and anklets. 

It could be true that you really hate the engagement jewelry your former lover picked out for you so that you can repurpose it for the new chapter.

Sell it

This is where the monetary or disposing value comes into the picture. Divorce burdens you with costs, not just a sea of emotions. Starting a new life? Even more onerous. Freedom is indeed not free. If court litigation, paperwork, or unresolved extrajudicial matters take the life and bucks out of your pocket, sell the ring or other jewelry, and the profit from that can be repurposed for starting fresh. You can also donate the sale proceeds to relief drives and causes that you also happen to advocate. Focusing your attention and energy on things outside yourself and past relationships gives you freedom and peace that accelerates the healing process.

Biltmore will be delighted to accommodate residents from Chandler and Scottsdale, AZ if you’re interested in high-end collateral lending or outright selling. Sell your luxury asset now!