Who Gets the Wedding Ring in a Wisconsin Divorce?

Wedding rings exchanged during the wedding ceremony are considered interspousal gifts in Wisconsin. In a divorce, wedding rings are considered marital property, so they are divided in the property division process. However, engagement rings can be considered premarital gifts meaning the receiving party keeps the ring.

Are Wedding Rings Marital Property?

Wedding rings are considered marital property, so they are divided with the other assets during the property division process. Even though wedding rings are bought before the marriage and are technically given to the other spouse before the marriage’s “determination date,” it is considered to be owned by both parties because the ring is a commingled asset.[1] A commingled asset is one that is a non-marital asset that then gets share between spouses. 

The division of marital property is where assets are split 50/50 between both parties. All things that are jointly owned or used jointly are considered marital property. On the other hand, the only assets considered to be owned by one spouse are assets acquired through a gift or inheritance from a third party. To best work through the intricacies of property division in Wisconsin courts, talk to an attorney who specializes in family law such as Sterling Lawyers.

What to Do with a Wedding Ring After Divorce?

There are many options of what to do with a wedding ring after divorce from selling it to donating it to returning it to the other party. You have to do what is best for your emotional and financial health, but here are some options:

  • Keep it in a memory box.
  • Save it for a child if you have any.
  • Donate it to a charity that can resell it.
  • Bury it or give it a ceremonial goodbye.
  • Have a jeweler repurpose the gems.
  • Sell it and buy something better.
  • Give it back, especially if it’s a family heirloom.

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Who Gets the Engagement Ring in a Divorce?

As long as the couple is married, then the engagement ring will be considered marital property because Wisconsin is a marital property state. Within this, there are always unique situations. For example, if the parties have been married for only a short period, then the receiving party can try to argue that the ring is a premarital asset. But, if the engagement ring is soldered to the wedding ring, then they become one ring, and it is considered marital property.

Who Gets the Ring if the Engagement Is Broken Off?

The person who received an engagement ring may have to give it back if the wedding is called off before the marriage. The receiving party would have to return the ring if it is considered a conditional gift.

A conditional gift is a gift with a condition attached to it. In this situation, the gift is an engagement ring with the condition of marriage. Because parties are not married, deciding who gets the engagement ring is part of civil law, so you would need a civil law attorney for this case. If the parties live together, the case could be considered under Watt’s law which is referenced for property division when unmarried parties cohabitate.

Are you ready to move forward? Call (262) 221-8123 to schedule a strategy session with one of our attorneys.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to give my wedding ring back in a divorce?

A wedding ring is considered marital property, so it belongs to both parties. If you wish to keep your wedding ring, then you have to be willing to give up something else that is equally valued.

Can a husband get the wedding ring back after divorce?

Yes, a husband can get the wedding ring from the property division process. Either party could get it because it will be split up like the rest of the marital property. Marital property is split based on how much it is worth and how much each party values it.

Who legally owns a wedding ring?

Legally, the couple owns the wedding ring jointly because it is considered marital property.

Who legally owns an engagement ring after divorce?

If parties marry and then divorce, the engagement ring will likely be considered marital property. If it is a short-term marriage, there is a greater chance that the ring could be considered separate property because it was a conditional gift.

Does the woman legally have to give an engagement ring back?

Usually, if the marriage does not happen, the woman has to give an engagement ring back because it is a conditional gift. It depends on the exact circumstances, but if the ring is given on the condition that the parties get married, then the receiving party would have to return the ring if the engagement is broken off.

References: 1. WI Statute, 766.001 § (5). Property Rights of Married Persons; Marital Property.

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