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Property division: Is your wedding ring marital property?

When a California spouse decides to file for divorce, he or she undoubtedly faces many other decisions and issues that must be resolved before moving on in life. Especially for couples who have been married a long time or those who have children, property division and child custody matters can be complex and difficult to sort out. A particular obstacle may arise regarding wedding rings.

Some people choose to discard their wedding rings when they divorce. In fact, many spouses say they found it therapeutic to toss their ring into the ocean or throw it into a fire. It is understandable, however, that if a ring has a certain dollar value, a spouse may want to sell it or simply receive a portion of the value of it as part of the settlement.

It is not always a simple matter, though. For instance, this state operates under community property laws where marital property is split between spouses 50/50. Concerning wedding rings, however, various issues can make the matter more complex, such as if the ring in question is a family heirloom of the opposite spouse. In such cases, a family court judge might determine this property as an inheritance, in which case it could be considered separately owned, and thus not subject to division.

California property division proceedings can place spouses at odds with each other if they disagree about who should get what or what a specific item might be worth. If a couple signed a prenuptial agreement before their wedding day, this, too, may have a significant impact on proceedings. Relying on an experienced family law attorney to help protect one's interests is the best way to go when a spouse anticipates a court battle ahead.

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Rombro & Manley
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