Do I Have to Give My Wedding Ring Back After Divorce?

Do I Have to Give My Wedding Ring Back After Divorce?

Do I Have to Give My Wedding Ring Back After Divorce?

Getting divorced is hard. Even when spouses agree that it is the right path forward, it brings a lot of legal, logistical, and emotional challenges. As the symbol of the relationship—and often a valuable financial asset—a wedding ring can cause conflict in a divorce. This raises an important question: Does a wedding ring have to be returned if a couple gets divorced? In Illinois, the answer is usually “no”—a wedding ring is a conditional gift that is characterized as separate property. In this article, our Illinois divorce lawyers explain the key things to know about wedding rings and divorce. 

Background: Illinois is an Equitable Distribution Jurisdiction

Illinois uses an equitable distribution standard for dividing marital property in a divorce (750 ILCS 5/503). A divorcing couple’s marital property is split fairly—which could but does not always mean evenly. In contrast, a divorcing couple’s separate property is not divided. Each spouse retains their full ownership rights over separate property. 

A Wedding Ring is a Conditional Gift—and Marriage Satisfies the Condition

In Illinois, engagement rings and wedding rings are generally considered by courts to be “conditional” gifts. The marriage itself is the condition. Once a marriage happens, that condition has been satisfied. The gift (ring) does not need to be returned in the event of a divorce. In other words, a wedding is separate property. As separate property, it is retained by the individual spouse. 

Possible Exception: A prenuptial agreement could be used to put additional conditions on an engagement ring or wedding ring. For example, a prenup that calls for the return of the ring in the event of a divorce could be upheld in Illinois if it meets state legal requirements 

Determining What to Do With a Wedding Ring is a Highly Personal Decision

Deciding what to do with a wedding ring in a divorce is a personal decision that can be influenced by several factors. Some people may choose to keep the ring as a sentimental reminder of their marriage, some decide to return the ring, while others may prefer to sell it. In some cases, the value of the ring may be symbolic rather than monetary, making it a particularly emotional item to address during a divorce. 

Get Help From a Top-Rated Divorce Attorney in Illinois

At SAM LAW OFFICE LLC, our Illinois divorce lawyer is committed to protecting the legal rights and financial interests of our clients. If you have any specific questions about handling a wedding ring after a divorce, we can help. Contact us today for your fully confidential case review. From our Rolling Meadows law office, we provide family and divorce representation throughout the region, including in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, Will County, and Kendall County.





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