Who Gets the Bling? Navigating the Engagement and Wedding Ring Dilemma.
Divorce is never a fun topic, but sometimes it’s a necessary step towards a happier future. When it comes to ending a marriage, there are plenty of complex issues to consider, from the division of assets to child arrangements. Surprisingly, one of the most common questions that often arises is: who gets to keep the engagement and wedding rings? Is it considered a gift, or is it an asset of the marriage?
In this blog, we will look at what the law says about this debate and explore how family mediation can provide a solution to this often tricky dilemma.
The Gift vs. Asset Debate
In the United Kingdom, the legal approach to engagement and wedding rings in divorce cases is quite straightforward. These rings are typically considered to be gifts and not a marital asset. In legal terms, a gift is something voluntarily given without an expectation of return, making it distinct from jointly owned assets that are subject to division during a divorce.
The Legal Perspective
The case of engagement and wedding rings falls under the concept of “non-matrimonial property.” In a divorce, matrimonial property, such as the family home and shared financial assets, is subject to division. Non-matrimonial property, on the other hand, usually remains with the person who received the gift. The law in England & Wales views these rings as a symbol of commitment and love, rather than a financial investment.
Family Mediation: A Solution to the Ring Dilemma
Family mediation is a valuable tool that can help divorcing couples resolve disputes like the one surrounding engagement and wedding rings. Mediation involves a neutral third party who assists in facilitating open and constructive communication between the parties involved. This process can be incredibly useful in finding a mutually agreeable solution, especially when the legal perspective might not align with the emotional realities.
Here’s how family mediation can help:
Facilitate Communication: Family Mediators create a safe space for both parties to express their feelings and concerns, helping them understand each other’s perspectives.
Focus on the Emotional Aspect: Mediation addresses the emotional weight attached to the rings, acknowledging the sentimental value they hold for each person.
Find a Compromise: Family Mediators help couples explore alternative solutions, like offsetting the ring’s value against another asset, selling it, or finding a way to preserve its emotional significance, while moving forward.
Minimize Legal Costs: Family Mediation is often faster and less expensive than court proceedings, which can be a significant advantage in resolving matters and moving on with your life.
In summary, engagement and wedding rings are generally considered gifts, not marital assets. While this provides a clear legal perspective, the emotional significance of these rings can create a dilemma for divorcing couples. Family mediation can be an effective tool to navigate this issue, helping individuals find a compromise that respects both the legal and emotional aspects of the situation.
And remember, in the end, the rings may symbolise the past, but your happiness lies in the future.