Do Engagement Rings Predict Divorce Risk?


Expensive engagement rings are not always what they're cracked up to be. According to a recent study entitled "A Diamond is Forever and Other Fairy Tales" by Andrew M. Francis and Hugo M. Mialon of the Emory University Department of Economics, men who spent between $500 and $2,000 on an engagement ring had a substantially lower risk of divorce than those who purchased a ring costing $2,000 or more. In fact, men who purchased a ring costing $2,000 or more divorced at a 1.3 times higher rate than those who purchased a less expensive ring.

The authors speculated that pricier engagement rings may create unnecessary financial stress when a couple is attempting to begin a life together. An expensive engagement ring often comes with a lavish wedding, which takes away from funds needed to purchase and furnish a home or prepare to start a family.

If you do file for divorce after receiving an expensive engagement ring, keep in mind that the ring is considered a gift and therefore the separate property of the woman. Even when the ring is one of the couple's largest assets or a family heirloom from the groom's side, it belongs to the woman alone unless the issue is specifically addressed in a valid prenuptial agreement.

If a woman receives an expensive engagement ring, but never marries, she may still be legally entitled to keep the gift. California has an implied conditional gift standard for engagement rings. If the man breaks the engagement, he doesn't get the ring back. If the woman refuses to go through with the marriage, however, she must return the ring if asked to do so.

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Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your divorce, hiring a skilled attorney to represent your interests is the best way to ensure that you receive a fair settlement. If you are in need of legal representation during your divorce, please call our experienced Pasadena divorce attorneys at (626) 683-8113 or email us at