There are a significant number of symbolic elements to a wedding ceremony. Cake-cutting ceremonies date back to ancient Rome. Rings are signs of commitment and are rooted in the Egyptian custom where reeds were used instead of today’s golden, silver, and titanium bands. Today, in parts of India, women wear a mangalsutra throughout their marriage. Although some may choose to bring it out only during special occasions, it remains a powerful symbol of their union. If the marriage ends, what happens to the mangalsutra?
Separate & Community Property
As a resident of Washington, you will be subject to the divorce laws within the state. Your marital assets will not be divided equally (i.e., 50/50) but fairly and equitably. However, only some assets are subject to equitable distribution. There is a distinct difference between separate and community property. Gifts such as the mangalsutra may be viewed as separate property.
For instance, if you received a gift before or during your marriage, it may be yours to keep. For it to be viewed as separate property, it cannot be commingled. Imagine that you and you alone receive either an inheritance or a gifted sum of money. Should that money get deposited into a bank account that you and your spouse have access to, then a judge could view it as community property.
How Does This Apply to the Mangalsutra?
Because the distinction between community and separate property also extends to gits made by one spouse to another. When you give a gift, it belongs to the other person and exists outside the purview of community property. If you give your spouse a car, piece of jewelry, or even a car, it can be argued that it is their property. That means that it cannot be recovered during the divorce process when you divide assets.
Again, there are times when a gift becomes community property, which is when the gift is commingled with marital assets. Although it doesn’t directly apply to the mangalsutra, we want to highlight other ways that could happen. If you own a house before marriage, that alone could make it separate property. What happens if you use marital funds to renovate it? Now there is an argument centered around your house being shared property, and thus, it could be divided during the divorce.
Protect Your Assets By Contacting A Divorce Attorney
Can you keep your mangalsutra after your divorce? Yes, but you need an attorney to answer that question definitively. We published this blog because we have worked with clients who have asked us this exact question. Protect your assets by contacting ZafiroLaw and scheduling a consultation.