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Who Gets the Engagement Ring After Divorce?

Your relationship ended. Who gets the engagement ring?

This is actually a much trickier subject that you might realize. In some circumstance, it would seem an easy answer but in North Carolina, it's not so clear. This particular aspect of divorce typically falls under the category of property division. However, there are situations that should be considered when regarding engagement rings.

raleigh divorce lawyer engagement ring

Being Engaged versus Being Married

First, were you engaged or married?

This provides a more clear opportunity of establishing who should receive the ring following a split.


In the eyes of the law, an engagement ring is usually offered as a conditional gift. Meaning that the ring would not otherwise be given to the recipient without the acceptance of marriage as the exchange.

Granted this sounds harsh, but it is how the law works.


Being married changes the manner in which the ring is then viewed. Typically, fulfilling the marriage ceremony and entering into a union is sufficient cause to then transfer official ownership of the gifted engagement ring to the recipient. To which, at the time of divorce can be viewed as separate personal property not to be included indivisible assets.

Why is an Engagement Ring Separate from Divisible Property?

The key is that an engagement ring is a gift. Gifts, inheritance and property owned separately prior to the entering of marriage are usually exempt from equitable distribution.

Exceptions to these Common Outcomes for Determining Ownership

Both situations, engaged and married have contingents that can change the typically accepted outcomes.


Cheating has a way of changing how the law views property division. Usually, the party at fault loses more than they gain, and engagement rings are no different. Parties who cheat can be sure the law will side against them regarding engagement rings.

If both partners have been caught cheating, then there may be a reason to contest the ownership.

Pre-nuptial Agreements

Having a pre-marital agreement drafted is not a cozy, heartwarming thought, but it is a smart one. This can protect family heirlooms and also dictate how property will be divided under a variety of circumstances. This truly is intended to protect both parties in the event of marriage. These agreements can help reduce the stress and anxiety of the divorce process because the details of the split are often already agreed upon.

Contact an Experience Raleigh Divorce Lawyer for Property Division

Seeking help from a Raleigh divorce lawyer is your best course when ownership of an engagement ring is in dispute. Don't lose your fair share of the marital assets. Our divorce attorneys are here for counsel.

If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, our legal team is ready to help you. We can be reached by calling 919-301-8843 or by completing the form below.

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