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Should you give back jewelry or keep it?

When a marriage doesn?t work out, many spouses do their best to eliminate all sentimental reminders of their failed relationship. It is not uncommon for women to give the rings back or for men to ask for them if they were a substantial investment. However, when years of marriage, anniversaries and birthdays leave a woman with an impressive collection of jewelry and she and her husband divorce, does she have to give it back? And if she doesn?t, should she?

In most states, regardless of marital property laws, engagement rings and jewelry are considered gifts and therefore not included in property that is divided in a divorce. The exception would be if the jewelry was a family heirloom. In that case, upon divorce, the ring or another bauble would be returned to its rightful owner on the husband?s side.

So if an impressive collection of jewelry doesn?t include items of heirloom origin and a divorcing woman isn?t required to return them to her soon-to-be ex, should she keep them? Well, that is entirely up to her. Her terrific collection of jewelry may be beautiful, but it may also be a constant reminder of her failed marriage.

Depending on the circumstances, a divorcing woman may want to keep her expensive collection out of spite, or give them back to show indifference. Likewise, divorcing men may want to leave them where they are to make it easier to walk away, or ask for their return to recoup some of their investment.

Dividing property in a divorce is always difficult. Even if the law says you don?t have to divvy it up, holding onto sentimental items can cause more pain than they?re worth. For information about what is considered marital property, speak to an experienced divorce attorney.

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Goddard & Malmquist

Goddard & Malmquist
1250 South Grove Avenue
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Barrington, IL 60010

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