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Who keeps the engagement ring in a Minnesota divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Property Division

Property division matters often strain the civility between spouses during a divorce. Both spouses may begin the process with certain unrealistic expectations. They may find themselves arguing over the most appropriate way to divide their marital property, as what seems fair to one spouse may seem ridiculous to the other.

Assets that have some kind of emotional significance and those that have more monetary value are often the resources that people focus on the most during divorce proceedings. An engagement ring could potentially fall into both of those categories. Traditionally, people spent three months of their salary on an engagement ring. Even if someone doesn’t dedicate a quarter of their salary to the purchase of an engagement ring, it can still be a piece of jewelry worth thousands of dollars.

Who usually keeps the engagement ring in a Minnesota divorce?

Engagement rings are conditional gifts

Gifts are usually separate property that one spouse retains in a divorce. There are scenarios in which the person who proposed receives the engagement ring back. However, those situations almost always involve an engagement that does not lead to marriage.

An engagement ring is a very valuable gift that one person gives to another as an indication of their sincerity when they propose getting married. After they solemnify their relationship, the recipient spouse is the sole owner of the engagement ring.

No matter how much it is worth or why they get divorced, they can usually retain that ring as their separate property. They don’t have to sell it or account for its value during property division proceedings.

Prenuptial agreements can protect heirlooms

Occasionally, the opposite is what occurs. Although many people save money to buy an engagement ring for their significant other, some families have heirlooms that they pass down for generations.

In scenarios where one spouse used a family heirloom to propose to the other, they may have a prenuptial agreement that specifically states the ring goes back to the other spouse if they ever divorce. Other times, the recipient of an heirloom may agree to return the ring as part of the property division negotiations in the divorce.

Understanding the rules that apply during the property division process can help people avoid scenarios in which they try fighting in service of unattainable goals. Engagement rings typically stay with the spouse who received the proposal.