Are you going to lose grandma’s engagement ring in your divorce?

Thanks to the popularity of social media, a growing number of individuals turn their marriage proposals into extravagant affairs. Never one to be too flashy, you wanted to do something more intimate and special. Dropping to one knee to present your soon-to-be wife with your grandmother’s engagement ring struck the perfect tone.

In the lead-up to your wedding, everything seemed rosy and fine. Now that your marriage is on the rocks, though, you may wonder if you have any legal grounds to force your soon-to-be ex-spouse to return your grandma’s ring. Unfortunately, the news is not so good.

How Illinois divides marital property

Dividing marital property is one of the more significant tasks divorcing couples must accomplish. According to state law, spouses usually must do so equitably. This means you and your spouse must divide all marital assets according to what is fair and just.

Separate property is not subject to the state’s equitable distribution laws, however. Because your grandma’s engagement ring is a gift you gave to your wife, she probably has no legal requirement to give it back to you. Indeed, because the ring is your spouse’s separate property, you may be in danger of forever losing your grandmother’s ring.

Why marital agreements are important

You may have executed a prenuptial agreement before you walked down the aisle. If so, the agreement may require your wife to return the ring to you. If you did not draft such an agreement before your marriage, though, you may have an opportunity to address the ring in a postnuptial agreement before your divorce.

Ultimately, if you have no applicable marital agreements, regaining possession of your heirloom ring may require parting with a marital asset your wife really wants to have