Does a Failed Marriage or Engagement in Texas Require Giving the Ring Back?
Marriage is not the glitz and glamour you see on a rom com on Lifetime. Its a lot of work, a lot of compromises and a lot of sacrifice. The more you work on each of those, the stronger your relationship will be. Sadly, not all marriages work out. The reasons for divorce are as diverse as the reasons to get married. In that divorce, it is determined who will get which pieces of property. One such piece of property is the wedding ring. Does that have to go back to one of the parties or can the separate parties keep them? Let's take a look at what Texas has to say about it.
My Story of Divorce
I got divorced in 2014. Without going into great details, it was a toxic marriage with huge mistakes and unforgivable transgressions on both sides. One decision I made as I moved out was to leave her my wedding ring. My reasoning was her father decided as a Christmas gift one year to pay off the financing we had done to get those rings. I didn't want it turning into a situation where he would come after me for ending the marriage and keeping what he paid for. I did the same thing with a very nice watch that was gifted to me.
But did I have a legal obligation to return the wedding ring?
In short, no. Texas is a community property state. Meaning anything that is acquired while married is considered both party's property. The court will then decide who gets which piece of property. However, a wedding ring is considered conditional property. Meaning that it is considered the party's separate property. Where one party kinda gets screwed on this deal is that if there is debt associated with the ring, that debt is the sole responsibility of the person who purchased it. So you still have to pay for it without getting it back. Yes, its messed up but that is how the law is spelled out in Texas.
An engagement ring is a little more complicated as there are a couple of stipulations to this. If the person that is proposed to calls off the marriage, the ring will most likely need to be returned to the person who proposed. If the person that proposed calls off the engagement, the ring is not required to be returned to the person who was proposed to.
What if the engagement ring is a family heirloom?
Another common practice is for a family heirloom to be used as the engagement ring. If either party calls off the engagement, or they marry then later divorce, that heirloom is be returned to the family the heirloom belongs to. If children were born inside of the marriage, it is possible that the heirloom could go to one of them (herlawyer.com).
So, to wrap this up in a neat bow:
- If you propose, and the person you propose to calls it off, you can get the ring back.
- If you propose and you are the one to call it off, the ring is considered a gift and can't be given back.
- If you get married but later divorce, the ring belongs to whoever is wearing it and can't be given back.
- If an engagement ring is a family heirloom and the engagement is called off by either person, then it is to be returned to the family. If the couple got married, had kids, but divorced, that heirloom could go to one of the children.
Relationships are Not as They Appear in a Rom Com
Since my divorce in 2014, I spent several years as a bachelor, which was very much needed. I have since found a wonderful woman who I hope to marry one day. Divorce is not an option with this one so I don't expect nor want to have to deal with the above issue. We have to work every day with our relationship and will continue to work on it whenever that day comes for us to marry and for a long time after that. My hope is you do the same in your relationship. Divorce IS NOT fun or glamorous or freeing. Stay true to your spouse and to God and your relationship will last forever.