Who is Entitled to the Wedding Rings After a Divorce?
Even after a divorce, wedding rings can still carry deep meaning for you and your former spouse. In fact, there could be some question as to who is entitled to the rings after a divorce. In addition, if you were only married for a short time, the engagement and wedding rings may have some significant value to be considered during the asset division process.
In most cases, courts view wedding rings as gifts. The person who gave the ring is no longer entitled to its ownership. There are a few categories of gifts recognized by courts:
- Inter vivos gifts: Inter vivos is Latin for “between the living.” In this context, it means a gift that is transferred between people while they are alive. There is an implied contract between the giver and the recipient that the gift cannot be recovered by the person who gave it.
- Gift causa mortis: Causa mortis is Latin for “on the occasion of death,” and when referring to gifts, it means a gift made in contemplation of death (a deathbed gift, for example). This is different than a gift in a will; it is a gift made when the person who gives it expects to die. In this circumstance, the person who gives the gift is entitled to recover it if he or she does not actually pass away.
- Conditional gift: A conditional gift is made to another person so long as he or she meets a specific condition agreed upon by both parties. In some circumstances, the court might view an engagement or wedding ring as a conditional gift, meaning if the engagement falls apart or a divorce occurs, the ring could be returned to the person who gave it.
For more legal considerations regarding ownership of rings and other items of value after divorce, meet with a knowledgeable Long Island divorce lawyer at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.