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What becomes of jewelry in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2018 | Property Division |

It used to be where the longer couples were together, the more difficult it would be for them to divide up their property.

In many cases, they’d likely shared ownership of the item for so long that it is difficult for them to determine what property belonged to which spouse. And, if it belonged to both, then one of both may have developed some kind of sentimental connection to it, making it difficult to part with it. When it comes to jewelry, spouses may have difficult giving it up for even a third reason — the fact that it’s valuable.

If you happen to have inherited jewelry from a family member, then hopefully you had a prenuptial agreement drafted before you married. If you didn’t, then the next best thing you may have on hand is a handwritten letter from the person who gave you the piece stating that it was gifted to you explicitly. A third, and less definitive, way to prove that a piece of jewelry belongs to you is to have it appraised in your name alone.

Aside from family jewelry, spouses often ask what becomes of an engagement ring when they split. Since it’s gifted before marriage, it’s likely to be considered individual property.

Depending on when you acquired the property and the jurisdiction in which you live, you may find yourself having to equitably split up any jewelry you acquired during your marriage. If you can’t muster the strength to do so, then a judge may order you to pay your ex half of the assessed value of your collection.

There are some instances in which jewelry that would seem to be classified as marital property might instead be able to be justified to be individual property instead.

Key to proving that jewelry belongs to one of you, but not both, even if it was acquired post-marriage, is if you can prove that it was gifted to you for your exclusive use. In many cases, it will be necessary to produce photographs or a greeting card, at the very least, to show this.

If you have some jewelry that you and your ex are struggling to reach an agreement about, then a Fort Myers attorney can advise you of some different strategies that can be employed to do so.

Source: Live About, “Jewelry in a divorce: Who keeps the jewelry in a divorce?,” Lauren Thomann, accessed Feb. 13, 2018


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