As a family law attorney (divorce lawyer) in Michigan, I handle all aspects of divorce, post-divorce and even pre-marriage issues. One issue that is addressed in virtually every case is the division of property and debts. The following provides an analysis of how property and debts are divided in most cases, then applies that analysis to the wedding or engagement ring.
Typically, the property must be put into one of two categories, married or separate. Any property, money, or income that comes into the marriage through the efforts of either spouse will be considered marital property. The same is true for any property purchased by either party during the marriage with that income. So most property will be considered marital. Marital property is subject to an equitable division by the court. Equitable means roughly equal but not necessarily an exact fifty percent division of assets.
Separate property usually falls into one of three categories; premarital property, inherited property or property that was gifted specifically to one party (not both parties together like wedding gifts). Premarital property is property that one party owned before the marriage, kept separate from other assets during the marriage and did not contribute any marital funds or individual effort to increase or maintain the value of the asset. Inherited property, again so long as it is maintained separately from marital property would be the separate property of the inheriting spouse. Finally, property that was specifically gifted to one spouse, so long as that spouse maintains its separate nature, will be considered the separate property of that spouse. Separate property is awarded to the spouse to whom it belongs and it is not counted in the division of the other assets.
A wedding ring or engagement ring in Michigan is considered a gift and therefore it is the separate property of the spouse to whom it was given. It typically maintains it's separate nature because there is typically little or no need for a contribution of marital funds or effort to keep or maintain the ring. This means that in most cases the ring is awarded to the person to whom it was given and is not considered in the division of other assets.
If you have questions about property division, marriage, divorce or post-divorce modifications, please do not hesitate to contact a Michigan family law attorney at North Oakland Michigan Divorce Lawyer.