In case of separation or divorce must return the jewelry received as a gift? Here is what the law says. And the common sense ♦ ︎
When you browse through the album of memories, everything looks so beautiful. He, she, the smiles, the happy moments. But love does not always last long. Divorces, separations, goodbyes are to be considered when starting a relationship. Among the painful aspects at the time of the division of the couple there is also the non-secondary aspect of the attribution of material goods. Houses, cars and, last but not least, the jewels. Yes, because there are men who claim to get back what they have donated and women who feel compelled to point out the distance by throwing back the engagement ring or the earrings received for the birthday. But is this attitude right? And the law what do you expect?
Divorces and separations
American way. The United States, from the point of view of the legal aspects of separation and divorce, is a school, but even here there is no single rule. Some examples: after the divorce from Donald Trump, in 1999, Marla Maples sold her diamond of Harry Winston from 7.45 carats to 110,000 dollars. He then donated the money to charity, at least that’s what he reported. The current president of the USA has defined the “rather boring” affair. The federal state law in New York believes, for example, that an engagement that ends is no one’s fault and the ring should be returned to the donor, with few exceptions. Different, however, if the couple breaks out after marriage. And most states have adopted this approach. But not all. In Montana, the ring is considered an unconditional gift and therefore remains to those who received it. In California and Texas, if the request for engagement and marriage is accepted, the ring becomes a sort of contract and therefore stays with the bride or bride in case of separation.
And in Europe? In the Old Continent, family traditions weigh more than in the US. Although in most countries gifts are gifts and, therefore, no one thinks of returning necklaces, rings and earrings. In the event of a break in the engagement or marriage, the jewels therefore remain in the hands of ex-girlfriends or wives. However, there are exceptions. One of these concerns the so-called family jewels, which are linked to ancient traditions or have belonged to mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers. In most cases it is not a question of jewels of great value (unless you are Meghan Markle or Kate Middleton). However, these jewels have a very strong emotional value, not only for those who gave them away, but also for the family context behind them. In this case it is good practice to return the jewelry to the him or, better, to the history to which they belong. In short, it is not provided for by law, but by common sense.
Communion of goods and jewels
Another exception is that envisaged in some countries, such as Italy, where there is the possibility of opting for the communion of assets at the time of marriage. This type of marriage agreement provides that all purchases made by one or both spouses after the moment of the “yes” are co-ownership between husband and wife. But Article 179 of the Civil Code mentions among the goods that do not fall within the legal communion those of “strictly personal use of each spouse and their accessories”. Among accessories are easy to locate jewels. But, beware: in February 2017 the Court of Cassation (the third degree of judgment according to the Italian legal system) ordered the seizure of a wife’s jewels because of the crimes committed by her husband. According to the judges, “in the case of the legal communion of goods, the purchases made after marriage are also the property of the other spouse, unless the goods are strictly personal, completely subtracted, as such, at the other”. According to the magistrates, “the use demonstrates the availability of the good by the spouse but does not exclude that of the other”. So the jewels were considered common goods of the couple. But just in case in regime of communion of goods. Cosimo Muzzano