An engagement ring is an important part of getting married for many people. Engagement rings have a long history, dating all the way back to ancient Roman times when they were made out of things like ivory or iron. Diamond engagement rings did not become popular until the late 1940s when De Beers, a British jeweler, launched one of the most successful ad campaigns in history. The world became convinced that indeed, “Diamonds are forever,” making diamond engagement rings the “standard.” Now, the average American spends around $7,750 on an engagement ring, making it a valuable piece of marital property. One of the questions that many divorcing couples have during the property division process is about the engagement ring. Who gets to keep it?
Property Division Laws
Illinois makes a distinction between marital and nonmarital property during divorce. Illinois law states that any and all marital property is subject to division. Marital property includes any property that either spouse acquired during the marriage or any debt that either of them might have taken on. Nonmarital property is anything that either spouse acquired prior to the marriage. However, there are exceptions to that rule. Property that was acquired through inheritance, property acquired in exchange for that property, property acquired as a gift, and property that is excluded by a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is not part of the marital estate.
Determining Who Gets the Ring
Illinois law states that gifts are the property of the person who receives them, even in a divorce and even if the gift was exchanged between spouses. A gift that either spouse receives at any point is considered to be nonmarital property. It is customary to give an engagement ring before the marriage, with the intent that the recipient will go through with their promise of betrothal. As long as the marriage happens, the engagement ring is the irrevocable property of the person who received it....