Unfortunately, not all engagements end in marriage. Breakups happen and when an engagement ends, there could be some question as to who gets the ring. Even though the law is clear on who should get the ring, there could be some disagreement, which can lead to serious consequences to the person holding onto the ring. If you are in possession of an engagement ring and do not want to give it back following a split, here is what you need to know:
Can You Keep the Ring?
Most states have laws that deal with the ring from a broken engagement. Whether or not you can keep the ring depends largely on the state in which you live.
For instance, some states consider the ring to be part of a contract. By not getting married, the terms of the contract have not be met and the ring has to be given back to the ex.
In other states, whether or not the ring is given back depends on who called off the engagement. If the recipient did, he or she could be called on to give the ring back. However, if the giver ended the relationship, he or she would not be entitled to receive the ring.
Other states see the ring as a gift, which could mean that the giver is not entitled to receive the ring back.
The best way to find out if you are entitled to keep the ring is to review your state's laws. Once you know the law, you can decide on your next move.
What If You Want to Keep the Ring?
If your state's laws call for you to give back the ring, but you do not want to, you could face serious consequences for refusing to follow the law. One of the most commonly exercised options is a civil lawsuit. Your ex could sue you for the return of the ring or its value.
Depending on your state's laws, there is a possibility that your ex could file a report with the police for the ring. If that happens, the city attorney could decide to pursue charges against you. Although charges being filed are not that common, you should be prepared for the possibility if you are planning to keep the ring.
Consult with an attorney like Medeiros & Associates to learn more about your options and to determine if your state's laws could lead to charges for keeping the ring.