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Yours, Mine or Ours: Who gets the wedding ring and wedding gifts?

A recently published Oregon opinion found that a wife's wedding ring was her own separate property, and not a marital asset that was "acquired during the marriage." The Oregon Court of Appeals disagreed with the grail court's finding that the $8,320 ring was a marital asset. Although there was scant evidence on the record of whether husband followed the traditional custom of giving the ring to the bride as a gift after the wedding, the parties did agree that the ring had always been treated as "wife's ring." Given the limited amount of evidence, the Oregon court inferred that the ring was a gift received by wife either shortly before or shortly after the marriage. It held that the precise timing was not relevant because in either case the ring should have been treated as wife's separate property. Under Oregon law, had it been given before the marriage, it would have been treated as premarital property.

The court noted that a gift from one spouse to another that has the character of personal apparel (jewelry clothing, etc.) and uniquely suited to that person's use, a court may infer that the recipient, and the recipient alone, is the sole object of donative intent,

The full opinion may be read at: Mallorie and Mallorie, 113 P.3d 924 (Or.App., 2005).

Engagement Rings are considered a conditional gift the marriage of which is the fulfillment of the condition. If the marriage does not occur (regardless of the reason), the ring must be returned to the donor. Meyer v. Mitnic, 244 Mich App. 697 (2001)

Wedding gifts, unless considered appropriate only for the personal use of one of the spouses (i.e. lingerie), are deemed joint property of the parties. Sorry Emily Post! Darwish v. Darwish 100 Mich App 758, (1980).

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Schwartz Law Firm
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