With No Wedding, Who Keeps the Ring?
It can be a very sad day when a wedding is called off. Expectations crash, and hearts are heavy. On the other hand, sometimes it’s just a relief. Two people come to their senses and realize that their marriage just wasn’t meant to be. The split is amicable, sometimes they remain friends, and off they go back into the wild blue yonder.
But what about that engagement ring? Who gets to keep it? It seems logical that the ring was a gift and therefore should belong to the recipient. But logic and the law are not always a happy couple. Most states consider an engagement ring to be a “conditional gift”. This means that the condition of the gift is that the marriage take place. (In Kansas and Montana, the ring is viewed simply as a “gift” and belongs to the person who received it. Some other states have ruled that if the ring was given as a Christmas or birthday gift, it may also be considered to be just a gift.) If the marriage is cancelled, the ring goes back to the donor. It doesn’t matter who or what caused the breakup. This situation can be altered if you have a prenuptial agreement and thought enough ahead to put instructions about the ring into it. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t. Most people don’t.
If the ring was a family heirloom, regardless of the law, it should ethically be returned. Nobody wants to go through life known as a mean girl.
If the ring was purchased together, you may want to sell it together, and share the proceeds. One of our specialties is Family Law and we can help you deal with this.
We suggest that you think long and hard about this once the hard feelings start to lift. The ring you may try to keep can also be a long-lasting reminder of something special that didn’t work out. Not all memories are worth hanging onto.
Let us help you start your new life. Please give us a call at 503.655.7555 to talk this over or contact us here. We will be on your side from the beginning and all the way through.
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