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Can my ex keep their wedding ring after divorce?

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Generally property, assets, and debts acquired during an Oregon marriage are part of the “marital estate” subject to division by the court. Since 2005, however, items that are clearly gifts and personal in nature have been treated differently.

The 2005 case of Mallorie and Mallorie, 200 Or App 204, 222 (2005) changed this analysis slightly. “If a gift from one spouse to another is an item of personal apparel, such as clothing, jewelry, etc., and uniquely suited to the use of one spouse and not the other, we may infer that the recipient, and the recipient alone, is the sole object of donative intent, in the absence of evidence to the contrary. We thus conclude that, regardless of when wife acquired her wedding ring, it should have been treated as her separate property rather than as a marital asset.” Id.

Here, the consideration of the court seems to focus on two factors: (1) That the item in dispute (here a wedding ring) was a gift; and (2) that the item was personal in nature and uniquely suited to the use of one spouse. Under the analysis of the Mallorie court, a car gifted during the marriage would still be a marital asset and not treated separately because it is not unique to one spouse (or personal in nature).

The takeaway seems clear with regard to a wedding ring. If it was a gift, they get to keep it.

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