Can the Bride-to-be Keep the ...

Can the Bride-to-be Keep the Engagement Ring if a Marriage is Called off in South Carolina?

As South Carolina divorce attorneys we are often hired to work with the parties to a failed marriage over marital property on divorce.

But on occasions disputes can arise as to property when a marriage has failed to take place. This is rare but one valuable piece of property that has been the subject of disputes in the courts in the past is the engagement ring.

Engagement rings often cost four figures. But what happens if the parties decide not to marry after the bride-to-be receives the engagement ring?

The South Carolina Court of Appeals recently had the opportunity to address this question in the 2012 case of Campbell v. Robinson.

In this case Campbell, the groom-to-be, filed a lawsuit against Robinson, the bride-to-be, for the return of the engagement ring he gave her when he proposed. The bride refused to return the ring. She argued that while it was an engagement ring at first it became an absolute gift when the engagement was called off and claimed the groom had told her she could keep the ring.

Although the actions of the parties may appear to be relevant in these cases, the court determined otherwise. The court concluded in the case that "fault does not determine ownership of the ring."

In other words it does not matter if a bride or a groom calls off the wedding. Instead, the court adopted the following standard as the rule:

"An engagement ring by its very nature is a symbol of a donor's continuing devotion to the donee. Once an engagement is cancelled, the ring no longer holds that significance," the court ruled.

It said as a gift an engagement ring is "impliedly conditioned upon the marriage taking place."

Unless the condition – in this case the marriage is fulfilled - the "attempted gift is unenforceable and must be returned to the donor upon the donor's request."

The court's decision means that an engagement ring is generally conditional on an engagement and the bride to be has no right to keep it if the wedding is called off.

However, the bride-to-be may be able to keep the ring if she is able to demonstrate it was an absolute gift and was not given in contemplation of marriage. Nothing in this blog is intended to constitute legal advice.

If you have any questions about divorce or a family law matter, call our experienced family law attorneys. Contact the Masella Law Firm at 803-748-9990.

Categories: Divorce

Make a Payment

Click here to be taken to our secure payment page

Pay Now

Contact Us Today

Email Us Your Information

Contact Masella Law Firm, P.A. today to receive your initial consultation.

Name:
Email:
Phone:
Please Choose:
Message:

Meet Our Team

Our Attorneys

Practicing Since 1998
Our firm comprises dedicated attorneys who are experienced in state and federal courts.

Read Our Profiles

Why Choose Us?

  • Prompt & professional
  • We fight every fight
  • Highly reccomended by past clients

What Are You Waiting For?

Don’t leave your future in jeopardy. Contact our firm for a consultation!

Case Evaluation
Pleasantly Surprised I am not a big fan of Attorneys. I went thorough a nasty divorce and learned the hard way the importance of having someone who has your best interests in mind. I dreaded the fact of hiring an Attorney when my ex tried to take me back to Court. I heard about Bob Masella through a coworker. From the minute I met with Bob to go over my situation I could tell instantly he had my best interest in mind and he was very sincere in fighting for those interests. I would recommend this Law Firm to everyone. Bob was great at getting done what I needed. His staff was very pleasant to work with as well.