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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

Uses for an unwanted wedding ring

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Understandably, when a couple divorces, there is a keenness and focus on how to divide assets and how to settle arrangements for any children. Children should be first priority in any situation. The family law system in the UK dictates quite rightly that the wishes and wellbeing of any child should be the starting point for any residence and contact discussions. 

After this, or often at the same time as this, the house, the contents, the bank accounts, the pension, the cars – these sorts of things need to be thrashed out. However, there is a smaller, unique category of considerations that is often overlooked until the process is perhaps nearing its end or the dust has settled entirely and an individual has time to reflect on more sentimental issues. One of these considerations might be what to do with the wedding rings? 

What got me thinking about this was a BBC magazine item that asked people to write in with what they did with theirs. It was prompted by the Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise divorce when Katie was pictured without her wedding band immediately after she had left Cruise. 

And some of the suggestions on what you can do with the ring were quite touching. Some were more pragmatic, for instance some couples return the rings to each other. They bought each for the other and so it should be given back when they divorce for them to do with what they want. For others, the ring became a symbol of everything that was wrong with their life as divorce turned nasty and so they simply threw it away on a particularly bad day. 

And then there were those who symbolically tossed theirs into the sea or a lake at the same time, signifying it was over and it was time to move on, though admitted it was pretty hard to do despite the divorce being finalised. 

It just goes to show that the bond that joins a couple in marriage is often incredibly strong, perhaps arguably more so than couples who live together without ever deciding to tie the knot. That is commonplace these days but what to do with the symbolic wedding ring is not something they would have to concern themselves with in the advent of a split. 

Personally, I don’t know what I would do with mine if the worst happened but I know I would have a sentimental attachment to it, with it having been a part of me for so long. What exactly DO you do with a wedding ring, one careful owner, that you have no more use for after all? I’m sure someone would be able to come up with a comic “101 uses” list but I would like to think that most people would at least want to hang on to them for old times’ sake and as a reminder of the good times rather than the bad.

Andrew Woolley
Family solicitor

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