During a divorce, husbands and wives are often tasked with dividing personal property such as furniture, dishes, clothing, and often jewelry. If parties can’t agree, a judge will divide the personal property as part of the final equitable distribution proceeding. Quite often, husbands will desire the return of the diamond wedding rings they presented to their wives in happier times. They argue the diamond ring was a contract for entering into marriage and since the “contract” is ending with a divorce, they should be entitled to a return of the ring.
Unfortunately, diamond wedding rings are considered under the law in Virginia to be gifts, and as such, separate property of a spouse under Virginia’s equitable distribution laws. Therefore a Court cannot order a wife to return the ring. Similarly, any pieces of jewelry gifted to a party during the marriage are also considered the separate property of the spouse who received the gift. However, the law also applies to other gifts beyond jewelry- large electronics, furniture and even motor vehicles can be classified as gifts, and not subject to splitting between parties during a divorce.
If you have questions over whether or not a particular piece of property is subject to division in a divorce, please give us the WMM Legal team a call at 804-423-1382.