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I got the ring in our divorce settlment. He wanted it, probably because he was angry...

His or Hers: Who Gets Ring?


His or Hers: Who Gets Ring?


Legal Aspect of Ring Ownership: Opinions Vary on Who Gets Gold after the Split


By LENORE SKOMAL

    Legal opinion differs on whether or not the ring should stay with the ex-bride-to-be, or go back to the man who purchased it. The debate extends far beyond the expertise of Abigail Van Buren or Miss Manners. 

“I got the ring in our divorce settlement,” said 28-year old Dana Shapiro, a school teacher in Manhattan. “He wanted it, probably because he was angry, and he also wanted the cash. But it wasn’t even a point of debate because the court viewed the ring as a gift, so it was mine.”
 
And so it is in the majority of divorces across America. Many courts uphold similar rulings as New York, viewing the engagement ring, in the context of a marriage, as a gift and as such, should remain with the recipient even though the marriage and the meaning of the ring is no longer pertinent.  Same holds true for most states.   


“An engagement ring is a pre-marital gift from one individual to another and, therefore, not subject to equitable distribution in Pennsylvania in the event of divorce,”said David Rasner, 61-year old veteran matrimonial lawyer and co-chair of the Family Law Group of Philadelphia-based law firm Fox Rothschild. “If the ring appreciates in value during the marriage then the increase in value, if any, is marital property but not the underlying value of the ring when given.”    

But courts in New York also have ruled that the reverse is true with an engagement gone south. The ring is considered a conditional gift in an engagement, and if the parties don’t get married, then the ring must be returned. The marriage would make the gift final.       

There are a number of states that apply the no-fault rule to the ring and courts have ruled that the ring should be returned to the giver regardless of who broke off the relationship and why. “In the event the parties do not marry then the ring must be returned as it was a gift conditioned upon the happening of the marriage. This is true regardless of who breaks off the engagement,” he said.     

But there have been some cases, albeit rare,  where the courts have taken why a relationship failed into consideration All in all, it’s a state-by-state issue. 

(Source: American Bar Association)     



RING CASKETS     

Don’t know what to do with your ring, while waiting for the dust to settle on your divorce? How about giving it a proper funeral? Jist Enterprises offers wedding ring coffins for $29.95. The coffin, measuring 6 inches long, 2 inches high and 2 inches wide, is made of solid wood and has a dark glossy mahogany finish. The interior is lined with black velvet and the casket comes with a split lid for either an open or closed casket, for those who would like to have a final viewing for friends and love ones.        

Lenore Skomal is author of seventeen books, including Bluff, Third Willow, and Heroes: 50 Stories of the American Spirit. She is a columnist of an award-winning weekly column in the Erie, Pa., Times-News, she also teaches college journalism in Pennsylvania.




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