Your Wedding Ring: When is it the appropriate time to remove it?

How long after a divorce is underway can you continue to wear your wedding ring without looking ridiculous?

Well, I was over at one of my favorite sites, First Wives World, and Debbie Nigro had done a post on First Lady Michelle Obama and the fact that she wasn’t wearing her wedding ring last night.  Nigro drew parallels to J.Lo who was caught without her ring at Brad Pitt’s premier of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, shoving the rumor mill into over drive that she and Marc Anthony were getting a divorce. Is J.Lo’s failure to wear her ring proof that she is getting divorce? We don’t think so. Check out what we said on that topic here:
Well, I don’t know either the Obamas or J.Lo personally but I am going to go out on a limb here and say that Michelle Obama’s marriage is in tact and her not wearing her ring last night had nothing to do with trouble in Paradise but everything to do with the outfit and the huge ring she was wearing on her left hand which would have made wearing her wedding ring slightly preposterous and totally unstylish. Trust me when I say this: That woman is not going anywhere unless she takes that man with her. And if I am wrong, then Michelle Obama is a damn fool cause you know what? HE. IS. HAUTE. Actually, I am going to go further. Barack Obama is the HOT. TEST. And Michelle is totally in love with him as he is with her and their marriage is strong and fine, so please everybody stop trying to jinx them.
But, so, for the rest of us. When is it appropriate, during the divorce  process, for a woman to remove her wedding ring (or a man for that matter)? I really think it depends on the individual. It also depends on the meaning of the ring. Is the ring a manifestation of his love for you? Is it a status symbol? Does the ring equal the marriage? Or is it just a piece of estate jewelry that is like an investment you may be able to pawn if this recession gets any worse? I think the ring means different things to different people and folks have myriad reasons why they wear it, and for how long after the marriage ends. I don’t think there is any proper or improper etiquette for this. It’s strictly personal.
For some people, the marriage is over before they even consult with the divorce attorney and the right time for them is that moment when they realize, you know what, this marriage has irretrievably broken down and it is time to take this ring off.
For others, the end is when they hire the lawyer. Still others say its over when spouse receives the divorce papers, hires a lawyer, and serves and answer to the papers.
There is yet another group who feel it isn’t over till the judge signs the judgment of divorce (I am of this school of thought. I mean, anything could happen between deciding to get a divorce and the judge signing the papers. Anything. Even a reconciliation. So it’s not over till it’s over.)
I have one client who, three years after the judgment was signed, she still wears her engagement ring – but on her right ring finger. It’s a really beautiful ring. I guess she is having trouble parting with the way the light hits it. Or maybe she’s still secretly in love with her husband…
So, what’s the takeaway? Well, when it comes to the wedding/engagement ring and your divorce, you call the shots as far as when to remove it. I think a person has to come to that moment for themselves when removing it feels like the right thing to do.
Update: Well, turns out Jen and Marc are now divorced as I write this update (December 20 2011) so maybe there’s something to the ring thing. What do you think?
Article originally published January 22, 2009