Divorce is traumatic not only because you have to start an entirely new life from scratch, but also because you have to deal with the leftovers from your old life. Your wedding rings, in particular, are major symbols of the marriage that is now over. They may be unique. You may have loved them very much. Your wedding rings were part of your identity and you never went anywhere without them. So what should you do with your wedding rings on divorce?
It’s clear that you can’t wear your wedding rings any longer. No matter how much you love them, they are visible reminders of a relationship that no longer exists. Wearing them will keep you stuck in the past and prevent you from moving on after divorce.
So – What Should You Do with Your Wedding Rings on Divorce?
You could save the rings to give to your child or child’s fiancée one day; they will serve as a token of a marriage that was tough but led to that beautiful moment of a new love. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you and your ex-spouse had a friendly co-parenting relationship after divorce, that will remove most of any negative feelings your child may have about the rings.
You could transform your wedding rings into a new piece of jewelry. That’s an acceptable solution, too. It can be a symbolic gesture that conveys the start of your new life. You can even get a jeweler to melt down the rings to create something for the children you have from that marriage.
But if the mere thought of the rings makes you sad or anxious, the best thing to do is to get rid of them. It’s a personal decision that requires tons of strength, so take your time if you’re not ready yet.
Some women decide to give their wedding rings back to their ex; that gesture helps them get closure. But let’s face it: at this point, you could probably use all the money you can get, so selling the rings might be a smarter thing to do. It still gives you closure, but it also benefits you in a practical way.
Some of your friends might tell you to throw the rings into a river, lake, or ocean. Wouldn’t that feel great? You could unleash all anger you feel and get rid of that burden with a single swing of your arm. But again, let’s get realistic here. Those rings represent money you could really use. Throwing rings into a body of water adds drama to movies, but wasn’t your divorce dramatic enough for you in real life?
The bottom line is that selling your wedding rings on divorce might be the smartest – and most practical – way to dispose of them.
Is It OK to Sell Your Wedding Rings on Divorce?
Yes. Absolutely yes!
Yana Thompson, a psychologist from the team at BestDissertation, explains: “Once the most important relationship of your life is over, any item that reminds you of it can cause pain. The process of divorce is based on change and letting go. When you sell the ring, it’s not just about getting rid of an item you no longer need; it’s about removing the physical reminder that may undermine the process of healing.”
In most cases, engagement and wedding rings are considered gifts from one spouse to the other. Gifts are almost always categorized as separate property, so the recipient owns the gift free and clear, and the value is not usually subject to division during divorce. Remember: those rings are yours and yours alone. You have the right to do whatever you want with them. No one should convince you to give them back if that’s not what you want to do. There are exceptions, however, so you should speak to your lawyer before disposing of very valuable wedding rings on divorce. (For example, North Carolina considers wedding rings to be marital property to be divided on divorce.)
Most men will not ask for the ring. It doesn’t matter that the marriage is broken, the ring was yours to wear while it lasted, and it’s still yours.
When Should You Sell Your Wedding Rings?
Maybe you’re not ready to sell your rings the moment when you separate from your ex. In fact, that might not be the smartest thing to do. Here are a few tips to help you decide when to sell your wedding rings.
1. Wait To Finalize the Divorce before Selling Your Wedding Rings
Most reasonable men/women will respect the etiquette (and law in most states and provinces) that says the rings are yours to keep. But until the divorce is finalized, it’s best to keep the rings in a drawer because you never know what might happen in court.
2. If the Wedding or Engagement Ring was an Heirloom, Discuss the Sale with Your Ex
If this was a very special ring that ran back in the family, your ex would probably want to have it back. Tell him/her that you have decided to sell the ring, then you can go to a jeweler together to get it appraised.
However, making such an offer may make you look greedy. A better option would be to “trade” the ring for an extra piece of marital property of approximately the same value.
If you are engaged in a high-conflict divorce with a hostile ex, let your lawyer negotiate the trade on your behalf.
3. Wait Until You’re Ready
This is the most important tip we could give you at this point: sell the rings only when you’re ready to do so. These are highly emotionally-charged items: they’re charged with both good and bad memories of your marriage. You may find that your head wants to get rid of them, but your heart just can’t do it.
It’s okay. Take your time. Put your wedding rings in a drawer, or in a safe deposit box if they’re very valuable. When you’re ready to move on, you’ll sell them. That will be the final gesture that marks the start of an entirely new life. It’s going to be great!
Warren is a marketing enthusiast and a blogger at ResumesPlanet, who loves music. If he doesn’t have a guitar in his hands, he’s probably embracing new technologies and marketing techniques online. You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.