Getting Help With Your Divorce

Questions That Show The Complications Of Jewelry Division During Divorce

Jewelry division is a potential cause of conflict during divorce. For one, most pieces of jewelry are relatively expensive. Secondly, many people do not understand the laws that govern jewelry division, which also vary widely by state. The following questions show how complicated the jewelry division can be. 

When Did You Acquire the Jewelry?

Property that either of you acquires during the marriage is marital property. The property you acquire before the marriage is separate property. You divide marital property according to the state's property division laws. Each of you gets to keep your separate property.

Consider a case where you acquire half a dozen watches worth thousands of dollars before marriage. You increase the collection to ten watches during your marriage. You may keep the six watches you acquired before marriage as separate property if you divorce. Conversely, you must divide the four watches you acquired during the marriage since they are marital property.

Note that you might have to prove the six watches' acquisition before marriage. For example, you can use the purchase receipts (with dates) to prove that you had the watches before marriage.

Was the Jewelry a Gift?

Most states have special laws that define the division of gifts during a divorce. For most of these laws, the division of gifts depends on:

  • When you acquired them
  • Who gifted you the property
  • Whom the giver addressed the gift to

For example, some states define interpersonal gifts (a gift from one spouse to another) as separate property, while others classify them as marital property. Wedding rings are a good example of interpersonal gifts. Thus, you may keep your wedding ring if your state classifies it as separate property; otherwise, you must divide it.

If the jewelry was a gift from a third party, then its classification depends on whom the giver addressed the gift. The jewelry is separate property if the giver addressed or meant it for one of you. For example, if a friend gifts you a watch on your birthday, the watch becomes your separate property if you can prove you were its sole recipient.

Was the Jewelry an Inheritance?

In many states, inheritance is separate property, whether you receive it before or during the marriage. You just need to prove that you were the property's sole beneficiary. For example, if a loved one uses their will to bequeath you their necklaces, the necklaces are your separate property.

Don't rely on your knowledge regarding jewelry or any form of property division. Contact a family lawyer to help you navigate the legal aspects of your divorce.