The Houston Family Law Blog


So You've Just Broken Off Your Engagement...Who Gets The Ring?

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Breaking up is hard to do, especially when there's an engagement ring involved. The people who end up saying "I don't" at the altar often wonder; who gets to keep the ring? The answer is quite complicated, and of course varies depending on the state of residence.

Some couples can come to a harmonious decision on their own about who gets to keep the ring, but others will call a Houston family law attorney and turn the subject into a legal issue. Many women who want to keep their engagement rings argue that the ring should simply be seen as a gift, and that a person has a right to keep that gift. On the contrary, men will argue that the ring is a conditional gift that should only be accepted if the marriage is completed.

Texas law states that an engagement ring is considered a conditional-gift, according to the Austin Chronicle. However, the conditional gift rule also contains an element of fault in Texas courts. This means that a judge will determine which person in the relationship is at fault for breaking off the engagement, when deciding who gets the ring.

So if a woman accepts an engagement ring and then later breaks off the engagement for a non-justifiable reason, then she will likely be ordered to return the ring to her former fiancĂ©. If the man is the one to call off the wedding, he’ll have to let the woman keep the ring in most instances. This Texas law is of course extremely controversial. FindLaw states that some judges think the whole matter of who broke up with whom shouldn’t be a determining factor in who gets the ring. If no-fault reasoning can be applied to divorce, then why can’t it be applied to an engagement?

Related Resources:

  • Engagement Ring Law: Jilted Fiance Sues for $58K Ring (FindLaw’s Law and Daily Life blog)
  • Who Gets the Engagement Ring When the Wedding is Off? (FindLaw Writ)
  • Houston Family Law Attorney Directory (FindLaw)

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