In a listserv discussion among colleagues, the topic of whether a wedding ring is "marital property" and the value should be divided between the parties, it was obvious that courts in the 50 states deal with in different ways with this issue.
Mark Johnson Roberts, family lawyer in Portland, Oregon graciously has shared a published decision from Oregon holding that the wedding ring is a gift to the wife--intended for her own use and enjoyment--and thus is her separate property.
In the Oregon appellate court, Wife contended that the trial court erred in treating her wedding ring, valued at $8,320, as a marital asset. She asserted that the ring should be treated either as her premarital asset or that, because Husband gave her the ring for her sole use and enjoyment, it was her separate property. The appellate court found Wife's argument persuasive and that Wife, as a result, rebutted the presumption of equal contribution that would make the ring marital property. Husband's argument was a fence-straddling one: he contended that he gave the ring to Wife "in contemplation of marriage" and also that the ring "was acquired during the marriage."