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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12032
Experience:  JD, MBA
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My ex husband and I were married for a year then separated

Customer Question

My ex husband and I were married for a year then separated for a year. I didn't ask for anything when we finally signed the divorce papers, except for my 2 dogs and my rings. He gave the dogs to me because he travels a lot for his work, but he won't give back my rings. He took the rings when we were on a good term to get them shined and re-appraised for insurance, then we signed the paper and I never saw the ring again. He's dating now and wants to sell my ring to ask his new girl to marry him. All I wanted was my rings. Please help. Please.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 7 years ago.

Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Well, depending on the facts, there are two ways to handle this.

Did the divorce court divide the property at all? In other words, does the divorce decree state that the rings are yours? If so, then you can file a contempt of court action against your ex. The judge will order compliance with the order, and he can enforce it using various methods that could even include fines/jail if serious enough.

If the property was never divided by the court, then you’ll need to sue him in a basic property dispute lawsuit. In that type of lawsuit, you’ll need to prove that the rings are yours. In general, engagement rings and wedding rings become the wife’s property when the marriage takes place. They are considered gifts. Therefore, unless there are unusual facts that I’m unaware of, I think you probably have a strong case.

Have I satisfactorily addressed your concerns? If not, then please feel free to ask for clarification.

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DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that only an attorney licensed in your state is authorized to advise you in legal matters, and that the limitations of this setting may prevent your legal issues from being thoroughly addressed. Accordingly, please understand that (1) by answering your question(s) I am not acting as your attorney, (2) my answer(s) should be construed as general information only, and (3) our discussion is not an adequate substitute for an in-person consultation with an attorney.

 

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No nothing was divided in half. He kept everything which was fine by me, I didn't really want anything else but my rings and dogs. He prepared the divorce paper with his attorney because I didn't have the money to get an attorney for myself, and I signed it. He's saying the ring is his because he paid for majority of the things whie we were still married. He paid for majority of the wedding and offered to pay for the entire honeymoon. He makes well into 6 figures so of course he offered to pay for some of credit cards and school loans and what not to help me out when we were separated. Therefore he claims the rings are his. During our separation, he repeatedly told me that he still wanted me in his life, so I made numerous trip to Nevada to see him from San Diego. Now, he's telling me that he's met someone and wants to stop all communications with me, but he still has my ring. I am aware that the rings belong to the wife in most cases and that it will be a lawsuit. The reason why I am hesitating about getting a lawyer involved is because I simply can't afford one. Do I need a divorce lawyer or family lawyer to sue him for the rings? What kind of lawyer would I need to find? There's no other way but to get a laywer involved?
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 7 years ago.
"He's saying the ring is his because he paid for majority of the things whie we were still married."

That is faulty logic. That could make sense if the rings were marital property, but they weren't. They were your separate property (gifts to you). His argument would legally fail.

"Do I need a divorce lawyer or family lawyer to sue him for the rings? What kind of lawyer would I need to find? There's no other way but to get a laywer involved?"

A general practice lawyer could handle this case. It shouldn't be very complicated at all. A divorce/family lawyer may not take the case because it's not really family law case. At this point, it's a simple property dispute.

Is there another way to get the rings? Unfortunately, no. The only way to legally force anybody to do anything is by court order, and that means a lawsuit. If the rings are under $5k, then you can sue in small claims court without a lawyer. But if the rings are worth more, then you should hire a lawyer (it's still not necessary, but highly recommended because a case outside of small claims is much more complicated).

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DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that only an attorney licensed in your state is authorized to advise you in legal matters, and that the limitations of this setting may prevent your legal issues from being thoroughly addressed. Accordingly, please understand that (1) by answering your question(s) I am not acting as your attorney, (2) my answer(s) should be construed as general information only, and (3) our discussion is not an adequate substitute for an in-person consultation with an attorney.