By Douglas J. Manning, Partner, Certified Specialist in Family Law


In my 30 years of practicing law I have never been asked by a client  “So, what should I do with my wedding ring now that my marriage is over?” or “When is it appropriate to stop wearing my wedding ring?”.   I have been waiting to be asked this, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Many clients do say to me that, from a psychological or emotional perspective, they want to “break all the ties” to their spouse so anything that can be done to get them their divorce sooner than later would be appreciated.  They feel that by cutting this legal connection that they will also be cutting the emotional connection.  Fair enough;  but I have never asked them what they did with their wedding and engagement rings once they realized their marriage was over.

A recent article in the BBC News magazine gave some examples of what some people did with their wedding rings.   One person wrote that the couple had had their picture taken on their wedding day standing on pier overlooking the ocean with their hands proudly displaying their wedding rings.  The couple divorced 10 years later and they decided to go back to the pier and to throw each other’s rings into the ocean as a symbol of the end of the marriage.  This seems like a fitting gesture that had meaning and symbolism for this couple.  I also note that they were able to agree on what they would both do with the rings.

Another writer stated that she and her spouse gave their rings back to each other immediately upon separation.  They believed that they had bought each other the rings and so it should go back to the giver.

Another contributor indicated that she was so mad at her ex-spouse that she took the ring off one day and hurled it into a garbage bin – she savoured the “ping” sound that it made as it landed in the trash.

It is clear to me that there is no “right” way to handle the keeping of, or return of, your wedding ring.  However, the optimum solution is probably one that helps the healing process along.