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Are rings part of property division in a divorce?

When a marriage is failing, several things run through the minds of the spouses during the divorce process. Often, even before they decide to dissolve the marriage, spouses will consider what items they want to keep and what will be declared legally theirs. This can cause the property division process to involve numerous disputes and even prolong the entire process. Married couples in Texas seeking to divorce should understand the state laws when it comes to division of property.

A recent report indicated that some couples argue about the ownership of their engagement and wedding rings. In some marriages, these items are not only pieces of jewelry that signify the union, but are also worth a large sum of money. Whether it is out of spite or because they need the money, soon-to-be ex-husbands often seek to have the ring returned to them.

In Texas, an engagement ring is considered a pre-marriage gift. This means that even if the wedding does not occur, the woman gets to keep the ring. The same goes for a lengthy marriage. When the couple divorces in the state of Texas, the wife is able to maintain ownership of the ring because it is considered personal property.

There is an exception to this rule when the ring is considered a family heirloom. If this is the case and the ring is of unique quality, then the ex-husband could have the ring returned to him. This is because the ring would be considered a conditional gift and remains the property of the wife so long as the condition of being married is met.

Married couples should understand that gifts will most likely remain with the person who received the gift. This is true even when the gift is significant and expensive. Those concerned about the ownership of property or assets obtained during their marriage should consider instruments such as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, which can help lay out how property is distributed.

Source: Huffington Post, "Give Me My Ring Back! (Who Gets the Wedding Rings in a Divorce?)," Natalie Gregg, Sep. 23, 2013

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