Helping Clients Navigate A Course To A Better Future

Can a prenup protect an engagement ring?

You come from a family with a rich, storied history. Some of your family heirlooms are quite valuable — including your grandmother’s engagement ring.

You’d like to use the ring to propose to your girlfriend, but you’re also a realist. You know that not every couple gets a fairy-tale ending. You’re worried about losing the ring (which has both significant sentimental and financial worth) in a split.

A prenuptial agreement can address who keeps the ring

It may not be the most romantic thing you’ve ever done, but it may be wise to discuss a prenup with your partner.

Generally, engagement rings tend to be considered conditional gifts. If you ask your girlfriend to marry you and she accepts, the ring is hers — but only once she goes through with her end of the bargain by marrying you. Once the wedding is over, however, the ring becomes solely hers.

If you want to change that, you can address the issue in your prenuptial agreement and make sure that the ring returns to your family if you ever divorce. (Just to be on the safe side, you should probably also clarify what happens to the ring if you never make it to the altar.)

It never hurts to sweeten the deal in other ways

Because this is an emotional issue, you may want to take a sensitive approach and look for a creative way to balance your interests against your future spouse’s interests.

For example, the prenup could specify that if you have a child prior to your divorce that the ring can be held in trust for them until they reach 25 years of age. That might be a compromise your future spouse is willing to make.

You could also offer to compensate your spouse for the loss of the engagement ring should you ever divorce by paying its appraised value. Your intended may consider that a fair trade, given that the ring is a sentimental heirloom for your family.

Nobody enjoys contemplating the possibility of a divorce when they are about to get married, but a little bit of caution now could save you a lot of heartache in the future.