Do I have to Give the Ring Back?

Do I have to Give the Ring Back?
Love is a big business in the United States.  The average American wedding costs around $26,000 and Arkansans spend an average of $18,000 on their wedding.  According to a 2013 report by Jewelers of America, couples spent an average of $4,000 on the bride’s engagement ring in 2012.  It seems likely, given the improved economy and inflation, that the average is even higher today.  If you just experienced an engagement that did not work out, you might be wondering whether to give the engagement ring back or, depending on how the engagement ended, whether you can sell it for enough to send you and your best friend to Cancun for the weekend.
Whether you have to give the ring back depends on where you live.  The majority of states consider an engagement ring to be a conditional gift that the giver can take back if the condition (marriage) is not met.  This means that the engagement ring is not fully given from one person to the other until the wedding happens.  The minority of the states consider whose fault the breakup was when deciding who gets the ring.  Arkansas has no binding rule at the moment.  However, most courts in Arkansas use the majority approach and let the giver of the ring take the ring back if they choose (unless the wedding occurs).
So, you probably don’t get to keep the engagement ring in Arkansas if you have not been married yet.  However, rules about the division of property can be complicated and if you have a question about who gets to keep money or property whether in or out of a relationship, you should consult with an attorney.  Keeping an engagement ring, or some other contested property, could expose you to civil liability even if the item has sentimental value or it is not fair that someone else get the item.

Zoe Naylor is a general practice attorney in Northwest Arkansas who focuses on family law.  If you would like to meet with her to discuss your case, please contact the Joyce Law Firm to schedule a consultation. 

JoyceLaw Firm was founded in 2002 by Kirk Joyce.  Each of the attorneys at the Joyce Law Firm focus in specific areas of law, including, but not limited to: personal injury, immigration, criminal defense, family law, and business law.  Contact the Joyce Law Firm today at 479-442-5577.  More about Joyce Law Firm

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