Can I Sell My Wedding Ring before My Divorce is Final?
- You’re getting divorced and need cash
- What to know about marital gifts
- When was the ring received?
- What about post-wedding gifts?
- The burden of proof
- Action plan
As you face divorce, it’s important to prepare yourself for your new beginning. Part of that preparation may include taking an inventory of your financial resources and what you’ll need in your post-divorce life.
You’re well within your right to sell items that could provide you with some important cash after your divorce. But before you sell anything prior to your official divorce decree, you’ll want to make sure that the property is yours to sell. This includes your wedding ring.
You’re getting divorced and need cash
Divorce can take a big financial toll on a couple. While married, you and your spouse both contributed to one household. But once your divorce is final, that one household becomes two.
In your divorce proceedings, you are subject to your state’s laws regarding property distribution. Each of you can have your share of the marital property – both assets and debts – but that division of property may have yet to be determined.
It stands to reason that you’re looking at the expensive ring on your left finger as a potential source of cash. There’s no reason to keep it. Why not liquidate it to benefit your future? But legally, there may be a question about whether it’s really yours to sell. Do you have to divide your ring’s value with your soon-to-be ex?
What Should You Do With Your Marital Home in Divorce? Explore Your Options.
What to know about marital gifts
In most cases, anything you and your spouse acquired during your marriage is considered marital property. As such, it must be divided according to the divorce laws of your state. This pertains to every item you and your spouse owned as a couple, including gifts.
But what about the gifts you give to each other?
Divorce laws differ from state to state. Interspousal gifts may be viewed differently from other gifts you received during your marriage. Some states consider gifts given to each other during the marriage as marital property. Others consider these gifts as separate property owned by the individuals, providing they can prove that they were gifts.
How does this knowledge affect what you can do with your wedding ring? Here are some more things to consider.
When was the ring received?
Let’s say you received your engagement ring from your spouse at the time of your engagement, i.e., before you were married. You received your wedding ring during the ceremony, i.e., at the time of your marriage.
Depending on your state laws, your engagement ring may be considered separate property – or property you acquired before marriage. The wedding ring may be considered marital property subject to division.
Some states may consider the engagement ring a “conditional gift” to be returned to the spouse who purchased it. Some states may consider both spouses’ rings as marital property. Still, others may consider interspousal gifts to be separate property to be kept by each individual.
In other words, whether your wedding ring is your separate property or not depends on where you’re seeking your divorce. Your best bet is to find out your state’s divorce laws. Consult a legal coach for advice if need be.
What about post-wedding gifts?
Typically, any gifts you received from others as a couple during your marriage are considered marital assets and must be divided according to state law. Gifts from others to individual spouses would typically be considered separate property in the property distribution.
But this can be tricky. Was a cash gift directed toward just one of you deposited into a joint account? If so, it became commingled property at that time. Was one of you given a car or piece of real estate that later became titled under both names? Did both spouses pay for the care and upkeep of that car or real estate? If so, they can also be considered marital property and subject to division, even if the gift was intended for one spouse alone.
The burden of proof
If you want to retain interspousal gifts as separate property in your divorce, your state laws will prevail.
If your state says that interspousal gifts are considered marital assets, they will need to be divided in the divorce. If your state law says that interspousal gifts are considered separate property, then it is yours, provided that you can prove it was given as a gift with the intention that you keep it.
The thing is, gifts between soon-to-be spouses are given in the spirit of getting married and the anticipation of saying, “I do.” They aren’t given with the express intent to be split one way or another in the event of a divorce. But intent is exactly what you may need to prove if you plan on claiming these gifts as separate property in your property settlement negotiations.
Create an action plan
Before you sell any property pre-divorce, you should first understand the laws of your state and its property distribution rules. Unless you’re sure an item is your separate property under those laws, you could get yourself into a sticky situation by selling anything before your divorce process is complete. This includes your wedding ring.
In the best-case scenario, you and your soon-to-be ex will amicably negotiate and agree on your property division terms, and you will get what you really want in your divorce settlement. A divorce mediator that you both like and trust may be your best guide through this process.
If you end up coming away with your wedding ring, the dress, or any other items that you no longer need or want, there is a silver lining. Worthy.com provides an easy and stress-free way of auctioning your wedding ring or other fine jewelry. There are also other resources where you can sell or donate your wedding dress or other reusable wedding mementos.
If you’re facing a divorce, don’t do it alone. At Hello Divorce, we are here to support you. Schedule a free 15-minute phone call to speak with an account coordinator. We’re all about fresh starts here, and we’ll help you get yours.