Rings are one of the primary – if not the most common – symbols of marriage.
They are something that people take pride in wearing every day, but it can often become a grim reminder of the past if spouses decide to divorce. Some people might choose to remove their ring while navigating the stressful divorce proceedings, but that does not mean it is not relevant anymore.
What happens to the wedding band?
Most people have seen dramatic television programs where someone throws their wedding ring away or sells it in a symbolic image of the end of their relationship. They might also have heard stories about other people melting down their wedding ring after a divorce to make a new piece of jewelry.
Neither of these options is a particularly good idea – at least, not until after the divorce is final.
While the engagement ring is usually considered a gift conditioned upon marriage and is typically considered to be the separate property of the recipient, the same does not apply for the wedding ring. In North Carolina, wedding rings are generally considered marital property since spouses usually invest in wedding bands together.
How do you divide wedding bands?
Calculating the proper division of marital assets under equitable distribution guidelines can be a complex matter. In the case of wedding rings, spouses should make sure they:
- Get it appraised: It is critical for individuals to get a proper appraisal of what their wedding ring is worth. Rings can generally range from under $100 to more than $5,000, but assessing the value is an important step in determining how to move forward with dividing these marital assets.
- Make a plan for division: Under state property division guidelines, it might be possible for spouses to keep their individual rings if it is equitable. It is often beneficial to speak with a family law attorney in these situations, to ensure you comply with property division rules and preserve your assets.
Whatever individuals plan to do with their engagement or wedding ring – whether that is to sell it or create new jewelry – it is often better to wait until after finalizing the divorce. That way, individuals can avoid potential issues during the property division process or their divorce proceedings.