In divorce, property division applies to everything you own, from your home and bank accounts to your furniture and record collection. Everything in your possession must be treated as either community property, which you and your ex split 50/50, or separate property belonging solely either to yourself or your ex. Including your wedding ring.
Wedding rings and the law
Unlike many property division matters, California law regarding wedding rings is fairly simple. Once a couple exchanges wedding bands and their marriage is legally official, the rings become each spouse’s separate property and are theirs to keep if they get divorced later. In contrast, an engagement ring is considered a conditional gift; the recipient gets to keep it unless they decide not to go through with the marriage. Then the other party can claim it.
Of course, just because you can keep your wedding ring does not mean you have to. Here are three options for what to do with your ring once after your marriage ends.
Keep the ring
Some people adjust better to post-divorce life by continuing to wear their wedding ring for a while. Getting rid of it may be too painful, or the ring could be a family heirloom. After a while, they may be ready to put the ring in a drawer or pass it on to one of their children someday.
Sell (or donate) the ring
For those ready to move on once the divorce is final, selling their wedding ring can give them a nice cash infusion just as they start out on their own. Donating the ring is also an option if you do not need the money and would like to help someone in need have a special wedding.
Your ring might be a reminder of an unhappy marriage, but you still love it as a piece of jewelry. A jeweler can help you repurpose the ring or its stones into a new design or a different piece of jewelry entirely, such as earrings or a necklace. The transformation process can symbolically reflect your moving into the next phase of your life.
The fate of your ring is a decision you can make on your own. Most of the rest of your property division matters would be best handled with the help of an experienced divorce attorney.