Unlike diamonds, marriages can fall apart due to various reasons. And even if that is an emotional time, determining the value of your jewellery is essential in divorce settlements. Often settling inherited or bespoke jewellery in divorce settlements can get messy.
Unlike property, where ownership is decided on the basis of who paid it or the will, jewellery belongs to the wife in general. Therefore, if a marriage ends on a sour note, a wife must produce evidence to prove that these jewellery pieces were her property only.
However, there can be exceptions like gifted jewellery or valuables like artefacts involved in divorce settlements. Also, as these pieces don’t have any will, it gets tricky to determine the ownership.
The definition of gifted means transferring the ownership of an item. It doesn’t matter who gifted it. So, any jewellery gifted to either party automatically becomes their property.
But sometimes, when the divorce cases get controversial, the family can claim the jewellery back as a part of their family’s inherited property.
Much like jointly-received gifts, joined purchases are treated as shared assets. Usually, these pieces of jewellery get appraised and then shared between the two parties.
In the case of a vintage engagement ring, it falls under the category of a family heirloom. So, if the marriage ends, it is possible that the ring might not be an ‘absolute gift’ and should be returned if the union fails. So, often for inherited pieces of jewellery, the parties have to return those items.
According to the Married Women’s Property Act 1882, now women can keep most of the jewellery as a part of their property. Before this act, women had to return every piece of jewellery given to them by their husbands or relatives, including wedding rings. Jewellery wasn’t considered as her property but was a mere decoration piece for the wife. But as times changed, women’s rights on these properties became valuable.
Why do you need a jewellery appraisal for divorce?
Without accurate appraisal of an item, it is impossible to understand its market value truly. Appraisers know the complicated ways to find the correct value for inherited jewellery. For bespoke jewellery pieces, finding an expert valuer is a smart idea. Look for a professional appraiser for the valuation of bespoke jewellery in London.
If there is no written documentation about the jewellery, which is quite common, the best option is to reach an amicable agreement.
ome pointers to keep in mind while going through the whole process
It is usual for both parties to have misunderstandings regarding assets and liquid properties during a legal separation. For jewellery settlement, here are a few points that might help you:
- Determining the rightful owner of the jewellery through mutual discussion is better. The best step is to consult a trusted family attorney.
- If the decision is yet to be taken, it is best to keep the jewellery in a safe place. Please keep it in the bank locker. This way, you won’t be in the middle of a sock-drawer disappearance!
- If you decide to sell or repurpose it, make sure you are emotionally ready. Things like engagement rings or wedding rings can bring up many memories that won’t be easy.
- Try and get the best value for your jewellery if you decide to sell it. Consult with a good attorney who will make the process easier for you.
- To know the worth of your jewellery pieces, make sure you have a clear idea of a realistic market value. Make a worthwhile estimate with the help of a jewellery valuer.
Finally, to avoid any future dispute over jewellery, it is best to come to a written agreement on the ownership issue. Some people believe in getting a pre-nuptial agreement. But if that’s not a good option for you, get a post-nuptial agreement over things like inherited bespoke vintage jewellery.
For matrimonial valuations and divorce settlements, you can contact Prestige Valuations. They work with a fine team of solicitors and specialists that will help you to value your assets to give what is rightfully yours.