Engagement rings have a long and storied history. In fact, according to the Gemological Association of America, the ancient Romans first presented engagement rings to their intended spouses to form a pre-marital contract. These rings increased in both sentimental and monetary value as time went on.
Even though your marriage is coming to an end, your engagement ring represents something important to you. Consequently, you may wonder whether you can keep the ring after your divorce or must return it to your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
It is helpful to understand the way Oregon law contemplates the division of marital assets during divorce. When marriages end, divorcing spouses typically divide the marital estate equitably. This means judges try to do what is fair. Of course, you likely have the option of negotiating a divorce settlement outside of the courtroom. If you do, a judge is apt to respect it.
In Oregon, divorcing spouses usually do not have to divide separate assets. These assets include items one spouse owned before entering into the marriage. Separate assets typically also include gifts explicitly given to only one spouse. Your engagement ring likely falls into this category, as your then-fiance gave it to you individually and not to both of you as a couple.
If your engagement ring is one of your spouse’s family heirlooms, you may have a prenuptial agreement that requires you to return it. Therefore, if you have a premarital agreement, you should read through it to see if it addresses the engagement ring.
Ultimately, provided your prenuptial agreement is silent about your engagement ring, you probably have a good argument for keeping the ring after your divorce.