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How Do You Divide Jewelry in a Divorce?

 Posted on March 31, 2020 in Division of Assets

How Do You Divide Jewelry in a Divorce?Including jewelry in your division of marital property during your divorce is more complicated than it may seem. Normally, valuable assets obtained during a marriage are considered marital property, and that would be the case if you purchased jewelry for yourself. However, jewelry is often given as a gift, and gifts are excluded from marital property. Deciding whether jewelry is marital property could be a difference of thousands of dollars in your divorce. Thus, it is important to remember how you obtained each piece of jewelry that you own.

Was It a Personal Gift?

Whether a gift is a marital property depends on whether the gift was meant for one person or the couple together. The following questions may help you determine the intent of the gift:

  • What was the occasion for receiving the gift?
  • Who was the gift addressed to?
  • Who would have reasonably been expected to use the gift?

Wearable jewelry is often personalized and given as a gift on a special occasion, such as a birthday, anniversary or holiday. It is unlikely that a necklace or earrings were intended as a couple’s gift. If your spouse purchased the jewelry for you at a time that did not coincide with a special occasion, you can argue that they presented it to you as if it was a gift. It may help if you have saved a note that went along with the gift.

Engagement and Wedding Rings

Even if you have not purchased jewelry during your marriage, you likely own engagement and wedding rings. Illinois divorce law treats these rings differently than other pieces of jewelry you may own. Most jewelry is assumed to be marital property unless you can prove that it was a gift. Engagement and wedding rings are assumed to be gifts given to your future spouse to mark your marriage. If you break off your engagement before you marry, you will be expected to return your engagement ring to the person who purchased it. If you marry and later divorce, your engagement and wedding rings are gifts that you can do with as you please. However, you may want to make an exception if one of your rings is an heirloom from your spouse’s family. That ring likely has more sentimental value to your spouse than it has actual value to you.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Couples who are dividing jewelry during a divorce may find it more practical to sell the jewelry than to try to figure out who keeps each piece. The money you receive from the sale may help you with your post-divorce finances. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can discuss your options for valuable properties in your divorce. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.


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