Who knew that a little metal circle could cause so many problems? The fact remains that engagement rings are among the most hotly contested items during the property division phase of modern divorce. Men, you might be surprised to learn that it is extraordinarily unlikely that you will be able to recover the ring, even if you are still paying off the purchase. Although laws differ throughout Maryland and other states, the consensus remains that the engagement ring is generally awarded to the woman in a breakup.
There are two major rules that are used to determine who gets the engagement ring if a breakup occurs before marriage. The majority of states dictate that fault determines entitlement – especially if you break off the engagement. That means that if the man cheated on the woman, he will not be able to recover the ring. In some other jurisdictions, the ring is seen as a token that indicates a promise. In those cases, the woman fails to fulfill her promise if she breaks off the engagement, so the ring is returned to the man.
Other states confirm that the engagement ring is simply a gift that does not have to be returned. This can only be bypassed during divorce if the ring is a family heirloom. That is, if the man is allowing his future bride to use his grandmother’s wedding ring, it is not considered a gift and must be returned.
Both partners would also be wise to remember that jewelry and other big-ticket items given during marriage are still considered gifts that do not need to be returned during a divorce. So, wives who get upgraded wedding bands after five years of marriage do not have to return the ring after the divorce. Other property division laws exist to limit the type and value of the property that can be distributed during a divorce. Qualified family attorneys can explain these rules to people who are going through a breakup.
Source: www.huffingtonpost.com, “Give me my ring back! (Who gets the wedding rings in a divorce?)” Natalie Gregg, Sep. 23, 2013