A flawless approach indicates that it doesn`t matter who broke off the engagement. In these cases, the donor gets the ring back, regardless of who ended the engagement. As a general rule, only States where a no-fault approach does not result in the donor recovering the ring if the ring was considered an unconditional gift. So who is right in this scenario? Well, it depends. Checking all the legal boxes when buying a ring can help, but breaking up can still leave some questions unanswered. Was it given unconditionally or on condition that we actually get married? How have courts adjudicated similar disputes? In Virginia, the state Supreme Court ruled in December 2016 that the engagement ring is a conditional gift and must be returned to the donor. It stems from a 2012 case in which Ethan Dockendorf suggested a two-carat ring worth about $26,000 to his fiancée Julia McGrath. Dockendorf broke off the engagement a year later, but McGrath retained the ring. Dockendorf sued McGrath and won when Fairfax County Circuit Court ordered McGrath to return it or pay his ex the $26,000 because it was a conditional gift. McGrath appealed, arguing that he was barred from suing Virginia`s „heart balm“ law — which blocks lawsuits against lawsuits including: violation of promises of marriage, alienation of affection and criminal conversion.
McGrath lost again when the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the Heart Balm Act did not include conditional gifts such as an engagement ring. There is an endless variety of other situations that can arise from engagement rings and other similar items. If you have any other questions or scenarios you can think of, our office offers in-person and virtual consultations and mediation via Zoom, Skype, Facetime and phone. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers if you have further questions or would like to discuss your options in more detail. So if the engagement breaks off and the couple doesn`t get married, who can keep the bling? The law on the return of the engagement ring is important when disputes are between two people about who keeps the ring in a broken engagement. In most cases, the donor has the right to keep the ring. However, some states are working on a „mistake“ approach, allowing anyone who was not responsible for the end of the relationship to keep the ring. On the other hand, Montana still allows the receiver to keep the ring. In general, a ring is considered a gift. According to legal information provider Findlaw, the law requires three elements of the gift: the intention to give it as a gift, the actual gift giving, and the recipient`s acceptance of the gift. This article explores these questions and examines how the state of California treats engagement rings and other gifts when considering marriage. Although engagement is usually a time of joy and associated with new beginnings, some engagements end unexpectedly.
When this happens, an important question everyone asks is, „Who will get the engagement ring?“ The answer is not black and white, says Alan Plevy and Kyung (Kathryn) Dickerson, family lawyers at SmolenPlevy. States differ in their choices when it comes to engagement rings and how they are perceived. If you`re in a situation where your commitment is over and want to know your rights, Plevy and Dickerson suggest seeking legal advice. This question often arises: if a couple ends their relationship after getting engaged, but before marriage, who can keep the engagement ring? Some jurisdictions view things a little differently, calling the ring an „implied gift.“ In this case, the ownership of the ring is determined by the one who annuls the marriage. If the donor breaks it, he has no right to the ring, and it becomes a gift. If the recipient breaks off the engagement, they can get the ring back. In case of dispute over such a gift, there is certainly room to think about what exactly is given to a person and when. It`s so romantic to give an engagement ring on a special day like a birthday or holiday – just know that the ring can very well be considered a gift and the woman can keep it, whether the parties are legally married or not. The majority of states take this approach, and the ring is returned to the donor when no wedding takes place, according to research by WP Diamonds, an online buyer of diamonds, jewelry and watches. However, engagement ring laws vary slightly from state to state, and some states also consider who annulled the marriage to decide who should keep the ring.