Call Today! 856-546-1350

South Jersey Law Blog

Who gets the ring in a New Jersey divorce?

Posted by Matt Rooney | Mar 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

It is not uncommon for divorcing spouses to inquire as to who gets to keep one of any couple's most expensive pieces of personal property: the engagement ring.

While there are few “bright-line rule” in family court, this particular issue is relatively straightforward for most divorce litigants. 

In New Jersey, engagement rings are considered “conditional gifts.” The party giving the ring is therefore entitled to get the ring back if the engagement is broken off and there is no wedding. That's because the giving of the ring was conditioned upon marriage. If the marriage does not happen? The condition isn't satisfied and the ring should be returned. Many contractual arrangements function similarly. 

The analysis changes after both parties say “I do.” At the time of marriage, the ring transforms into a completed gift since the condition – marriage – was satisfied. The ring does not just belong to the recipient; it's also immune from equitable distribution, meaning that the party who gave it cannot sue for “half” of the value, or any other sum of equity in the ring, at the time of divorce. The owner keeps it outright. 

These concepts were illustrated in the New Jersey Superior Court case Winer v. Winer, 241 N.J. Super. 510 (1990). The Winer Husband had given his fiancee an expensive four-carat engagement ring. They subsequently married. Later, after the parties initiated divorce proceedings, the Court ultimately ruled that the engagement ring had been a conditional gift subject to the marriage. After the marriage happened, the ring was no longer a conditional gift. The Wife could keep the ring outright.

Do you have questions about your New Jersey divorce case?

Help is only a quick phone call or e-mail away.

Navigating difficult family legal disputes is our passion! We're here to walk you through the process and achieve a best-case outcome given the unique facts of your case.

If you have any questions regarding divorce generally, alimony, equitable distribution, the determination of income for child support, custody, parenting time, or any other family court matters in New Jersey, please contact us online today or call (856) 546-1350 for a confidential consultation with one of our skilled New Jersey family court lawyers.

_ Note: The outcome of every case is fact specific. Your particular case's results will vary depending on a wide range of legal and issues and factors. The facts of your case may not apply to or relate to the case described above. _

About the Author

Matt Rooney

Practice Areas: Family Law (including Divorce, Alimony, Child Support, and Domestic Violence); Municipal Court; Personal Injury; Residential Real Estate; Civil Litigation; Collections.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today

DeMichele + DeMichele, P.C. is committed to answering your questions about Divorce, Custody & Parenting Time, Child Support, Alimony, Personal Injury, Municipal & Criminal Defense, and Real Estate law issues in New Jersey.

We’ll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Haddon Heights
313 White Horse Pike
Haddon Heights, NJ 08035
856-546-1365 (fax)