Engagement Rings and Florida Law
It was likely one of the happiest days of our life. You were likely thrilled to finally be engaged and begin planning the wedding of your dreams. But then, something happened, and plans changed, feelings changed, and the decision to marry changed. If an engagement is broken, how does the law handle who gets to actually keep the engagement ring? Was it the person that gave it since the wedding never happened? Is it the person who received it because it was a gift? Does it even matter who called off the wedding, or for that matter why? The following are some answers to some commonly asked questions regarding wedding rings after engagements are broken.
Gifts Under Florida Law
Every state handles engagement rings differently. The state of Florida established through court cases that the gift of an engagement ring from one person to another is a conditional gift. This means that the gift is conditional upon the fact that marriage will actually take place. In fact, under most circumstances, most people assume that an engagement ring is actually the beginning step towards the expected wedding. It is important to note that Florida law has rejected the idea that the condition regarding engagement rings is not the wedding but rather a person saying “yes” to the actual proposal. In Florida, an engagement ring is a conditional gift contingent upon an actual wedding.
Doner Breaks the Engagement
The state of Florida specifically has held that if the person that received the engagement ring is the one to call off the wedding, the person who gave them that engagement ring has the legal right to ask for it back. Additionally, if the end of the engagement was a mutually agreed-upon decision by both parties, then the donor can also request it back.
Donor Breaks the Engagement
If the donor of the engagement ring is the one to break off the engagement, the law is murkier and not as clear. The donor does not have an absolute right to the return of the engagement ring, and in many cases, it may depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding the ending of the engagement. For example, if the donee had been unfaithful, stolen money from their fiance, performed illegal activity, or was involved in some other egregious act, the law may come down on the side of the donor to receive their engagement ring back. In other cases, depending on the circumstances, it will not take an act of injustice to get your ring back. However, it is important to understand that if your ring has any kind of sentimental value, such as a family heirloom, you should immediately get a prenuptial agreement signed after the engagement that includes the return of the ring if the engagement is broken for any reason at all.
Let Us Help You Today
You may or may not have the right to the engagement ring following the breakup. Contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale family attorney at the office of Joyce A. Julian, P.A. at 954-467-6656 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation today.