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Divorce and Your Grandmother’s Diamond Ring

posted by Bedrock Divorce Advisors 10:00 AM
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

During divorce there are so many things to divide with your husband that you may have forgotten all about the diamond ring your grandmother gave you many years ago. But when you finally get around to thinking about it, it hits you like a ton of bricks.

Can my husband take my grandmother’s diamond ring in our divorce?

Most likely he can’t. That’s because that diamond ring would be considered your separate property. It was a gift or inheritance given to only you by someone who is not your spouse. (For a more extensive discussion on the differences between separate and marital property, please see my Huffington Post article). The only way there might be an issue, is if you used marital funds to repair the ring, replace a missing diamond, or somehow increased the ring’s value. If marital funds were used to increase the value of the ring, it may still be considered your separate property, but the increase in value may be considered marital property. That increase in value would then be thrown into the pot with all of the other marital assets.

On the other hand, all gifts that your husband gave you after you were married (and that you gave him) for anniversaries, birthdays, etc., are considered marital property and they would also be part of that pot of assets that gets divided. I know that seems unfair, but that’s the law.

However, any gifts that you received from your husband before your marriage, including your engagement ring, would be considered, in most cases, your separate property, since you received them while you were still single.

The bottom line is that you should never commingle your separate property with marital property. Then, if you should later divorce, there would be no question about what is rightfully yours. Another way to decide what should be separate property and what should be marital property is through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. (For a more detailed discussion on this, please see my Huffington Post article.)

If you are getting divorced, or thinking about it, and have questions about how your family heirlooms and other assets might be affected, please contact us. One of our Divorce Financial Strategists™ will help you protect what is rightfully yours.

All content on this site/blog is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal
advice. If you require legal advice, retain a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction. The opinions
expressed are solely those of the author, who is not an attorney.
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One Response to “Divorce and Your Grandmother’s Diamond Ring”

  1. […] state,  assets that you bring into the marriage or receive individually (an inheritance or your grandmother’s diamond ring, e.g.) remain yours. This separate property is exactly that–separate–unless you co-mingle it […]