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Who gets the engagement ring in a divorce?

An engagement ring is often the first physical symbol that a Massachusetts couple may share to demonstrate their intention to commit themselves together in marriage. Rings come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes bought from a store and sometimes shared in families as heirlooms. However, when a couple decides that their marriage is no longer workable and that they will need to divorce questions can arise regarding what will happen with the ring.

Generally if a ring is given to a person prior to their marriage then it is considered a gift. Gifts become the separate property of the owners and as such a woman who receives an engagement ring from her partner may keep it if their marriage ends in divorce. The same holds true for a ring a woman may give a man during their marriage ceremony.

This is the general rule regardless of whether the ring is new to the couple or an heirloom. If a person has a sentimental or familial connection to a ring they may seek to protect its eventual return in the event of divorce through a provision in a prenuptial agreement; negotiations during a divorce may also yield the return of a ring to the giver rather than the keeping of the ring by the recipient.

Many emotions can be tied to engagement rings and some individuals who received them as gifts may not want to keep them after their marriages come to their ends. Couples may decide to sell them or give them to other family members. There are numerous outcomes for what may happen with an engagement ring during a divorce and it is important that readers consult with their own family law attorneys to discuss how their cases may proceed.

Source:, “Gimme that ring back! Couples confess who got the rings in their divorce,” Catey Hill, Jan. 22, 2018