You and the love of your life have decided to get married. It’s typically a time of continued celebration and joy. However, if something goes wrong and the wedding is called off, who gets to keep the expensive engagement ring? Does the recipient have to return the ring to the giver? Can the recipient keep it? Does it matter who called the wedding off? In the middle of such an emotionally turbulent time, it is important to know the law in Florida regarding engagement rings when a wedding is called off.
Florida Law and Gifts
Florida law considers the gift of an engagement ring to be a conditional gift. Essentially, this means that the gift is given on the condition that the other person will marry the person giving the gift. There is an implied condition that a marriage will take place after the gift of an engagement ring.
Some have argued that the proposal itself was the condition required, and was met by the donee (the recipient of the gift) responding “yes” to the proposal. However, courts in the state of Florida have rejected this legal analysis and said that the condition that must be met is the actual wedding and marriage, not just the engagement.
The Donee Calls Off the Engagement
Specifically, under Florida law and court cases, the donor of the engagement ring has the right to request the return of the engagement ring if the termination of the engagement is done by the recipient of the ring, or by mutual consent of both parties. The one circumstance where this may not happen is if the engagement ring is protected by a prenuptial agreement. If the ring you are planning to give has sentimental meaning or is a family heirloom, you may consider a prenuptial agreement as a bit of an insurance policy in case the wedding is called off.
What if the Donor Calls Off the Engagement?
The above circumstances apply if the recipient has terminated the engagement, or if it is mutually agreed upon by both parties. However, there are cases where the donor of the engagement ring calls off the engagement. In these cases, the law in Florida is a little less clear. In these cases, the donor does not have an absolute right to a legal claim to recover the engagement ring.
However, there are circumstances that would allow the donor to be able to reclaim ownership of the engagement ring. If the recipient had been unfaithful, acted in bad faith, or done some other illegal or “bad act,” the court may view that as an injustice for the recipient to keep the engagement ring. However, whether your fiancé cheated or not, you may still not have a legal right to recover your engagement ring, and visiting with an attorney can help you understand your options.
In the event that the parties do get married and either one files for divorce later on, the engagement ring will be the recipient’s non-marital asset and he/she will get to keep the ring.
Contact an Attorney Regarding Your Rights
Just because you are entitled to your engagement ring back, does not mean you will automatically receive it. You may be forced to go to court to ask for help in getting your ring back. The engagement ring that was once a symbol of your love is now at the center of a contentious adversarial conflict. Emotions are likely running high. Consulting with an attorney will help you understand your rights and obligations with respect to the engagement ring. Call The Law Office of Dana Pechersky at 954.529.2057 today for a free consultation regarding your case.