So, the decision has been made and you have begun the divorce process. There are many financial, legal and logistical issues to resolve. What to do with your wedding ring after divorce is likely one of the issues that will come up.
This question of what to do with the wedding ring after divorce is so awkward that many couples often avoid the subject entirely, but avoiding this topic can add to the pool of resentment between separating spouses.
When to Stop Wearing the Wedding Ring After Divorce
If the decision to divorce is mutual, and you are on a friendly basis, there is probably no need to discuss the timing of when you stop wearing your ring(s). However, a truly “mutual” divorce is rare.
At the end of most marriages, one spouse may not want, refuses to talk about, or is in denial about the divorce. For these situations, a conversation about when to stop wearing the wedding rings can be helpful. Ideally, you can agree upon date when you will each stop wearing your wedding rings. If your spouse claims they don’t care, consider informing them of when you plan to take the ring off.
The Value of the Rings
During a divorce, each person’s jewelry is usually considered their own personal belongings, much like clothing. The exception is if you heavily invested in jewelry during the marriage, in which case it might be valued like other asset collections (art, coins, guns, etc.).
The divorce wedding rings differ from other jewelry in a few ways:
- It is often the most expensive piece in a jewelry collection.
- It can have significant sentiment and meaning as a symbol of the marriage.
- It may have been presented as a gift from one spouse to the other.
- Often, neither person wants to keep or wants their spouse to keep the rings.
For these reasons, an agreement to sell the ring(s) is a common solution. Unfortunately, people usually receive only 20-40% of the cost (value) of a wedding ring after divorce. But what is the ring worth when it is gathering dust at the bottom of your jewelry box? Due to low resale value, some people choose to pass the ring on to one of their children or another relative. Ultimately, the sale or “passing on” of the ring can provide an extra layer of closure.
If a decision is made to sell the ring, do you share the proceeds with your ex? The answer may depend on many factors. One to consider is if the wedding ring was purchased in the spirit of a gift or as a mutual investment.
What happens when the ring is passed down from a family ancestor? While this complicates the question of the ring on the surface, it can also simplify matters. In these cases, the ring is held for the person in that family who is most likely to be getting married.
When only part of the ring is a family heirloom, people may separate and sell the stone or other part that was purchased for the marriage. This part of the ring can be resold or re-purposed for a necklace, earrings, or other piece of jewelry.
Discuss the Ring as Part of the Divorce
This article provides several considerations around what to do with a wedding ring after divorce, however, based on the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the rings, the marriage, and the divorce, you may have a unique way of your own to deal with the ring.
What is most important is to think about and discuss with your spouse the plan for the ring(s) as part of your divorce process – particularly if you decide to go through mediation. Having these frank and direct discussions about emotionally charged issues is one of the many benefits of divorce mediation.