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What Happens with the Engagement and Wedding Ring During a Divorce in Alabama?

Posted by Sam P. Dixon, III | Jun 26, 2024 | 0 Comments

What Happens with the Engagement and Wedding Ring During a Divorce in Alabama?

Divorce is often a complicated and emotionally charged process, involving various aspects of the couple's life together, including the division of property. One question that frequently arises is: What happens to the engagement and wedding rings during a divorce in Alabama?

Understanding Property Division in Alabama

Alabama is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property is divided in a way that is fair but not necessarily equal. The court considers several factors in determining what constitutes an equitable division of property, including the length of the marriage, the contribution of each party to the marital estate, and the needs and future prospects of each spouse.

Classification of the Rings

To understand what happens to the engagement and wedding rings, it's essential to determine how they are classified under Alabama law. Property in a divorce is categorized as either marital or separate property:

  • Marital Property: Assets acquired during the marriage, typically subject to division.
  • Separate Property: Assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gift, usually not subject to division.

Engagement Rings: A Conditional Gift

In Alabama, the engagement ring is often considered a conditional gift given in contemplation of marriage. The condition attached to this gift is the marriage itself. If the marriage takes place, the condition is fulfilled, and the ring typically becomes the separate property of the recipient.

However, if the engagement is broken off before the marriage occurs, the ring should be returned to the giver, as the condition (marriage) has not been met. This principle was established in the case of Wilson v. Wilson, where the court ruled that engagement rings are given on the condition of marriage and should be returned if the marriage does not occur.

Wedding Rings: Marital or Separate Property?

Wedding rings present a slightly different issue. Since they are exchanged during the wedding ceremony, they are generally considered gifts given at the time of marriage. The classification of wedding rings as marital or separate property can depend on several factors, including when they were purchased and the intent of the parties.

In many cases, wedding rings are seen as gifts given in the context of the marriage, making them separate property. However, if there are significant disputes or if the rings are particularly valuable, a court may consider them part of the marital estate and subject to division.

Factors the Court May Consider

When determining the division of engagement and wedding rings, Alabama courts may consider various factors, including:

  • The value of the rings.
  • The financial circumstances of each spouse.
  • Whether the rings were given with any specific understanding or agreement.
  • The overall division of marital assets and debts.

Practical Considerations

It is essential for divorcing spouses to consider the sentimental and financial value of their engagement and wedding rings. If the rings hold significant sentimental value, parties may negotiate to keep their respective rings as part of the divorce settlement.


Navigating the division of engagement and wedding rings in an Alabama divorce requires an understanding of both legal principles and personal considerations. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney, such as Sam P. Dixon, III at Dixon Law, LLC, can provide invaluable guidance and ensure that your interests are protected throughout the divorce process.

For personalized legal advice tailored to your specific situation, contact Dixon Law, LLC today at (205) 616-8896 or online. Our team is here to help you navigate the complexities of divorce with confidence and clarity.

About the Author

Sam P. Dixon, III

Mr. Sam P. Dixon, III was born in Mobile, Alabama. The great-grandson of the Alabama Governor, Frank Dixon, Sam has come from a long family history of politics and the legal profession. Mr. Dixon always admired and respected the legal profession and aspired to help people obtain justice and fairn...


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