Your relationship is unique to you and your soon-to-be spouse. If you do not want to shop for a generic engagement ring, you may be leaning toward proposing with a family heirloom. After all, according to the International Gem Society, heirloom rings tend to be more special because of both their sentimental histories and vintage designs.
Even if you believe your marriage will last forever, you should plan for the possibility of a future divorce. Because your heirloom engagement ring is invaluable to your family, you may want to look for ways to protect it.
The risk of forever losing the ring
If your marriage ultimately ends in divorce, you are likely to have to divide your marital estate according to California’s community property rules. These rules should give you about half of your marital assets. Separate property, though, does not typically fall within this paradigm.
Because you gift the engagement ring to your spouse, it is probably separate property. Without taking additional steps, you may forever lose the ring during a divorce. This is likely to make both you and your relatives extremely unhappy.
The importance of a nuptial agreement
If you have not yet walked down the aisle, you may want to consider creating a prenuptial agreement that requires your spouse to return the heirloom ring to you in the event of a divorce. On the other hand, if you have already married your husband or wife, you may want to draft a postnuptial agreement that speaks to the ring’s post-divorce ownership.
Ultimately, even if you never end up divorcing your spouse, having a nuptial agreement may put your mind at ease.