You Promised! – Engagement Rings When It’s Called Off
An engagement ring is a conditional promise. This means that if the marriage does not occur, the ring, by law, is required to be returned to the party who gave it. There are a number of exceptions to the general law. If the ring was given on the receiver’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, or some other holiday such as Christmas or Easter, then the courts may look upon the giving of the engagement ring as a gift but not as a conditional gift. In this later example, the law does not require that the ring must be returned.
Over the years, I have had several cases involving engagement rings. In most cases, we filed a lawsuit to obtain the return of the ring.
A lawsuit is often filed because the opposing party will not return the engagement ring. The last case in which we filed a lawsuit for the return of an engagement ring resulted in the ring being returned before having the case tried in the district court. In order to prevent the opposing party from selling or transferring the diamond engagement ring, we had a private process server serve the opposing party who is called the “defendant”. The defendant was attending training on a military reservation in Kansas City, Missouri. The defendant, who was the captain in the U.S. Army, avoided service of process. However, our private process server was accompanied by the military police. The defendant ran from our private process server and the military police had to tackle the defendant in order for the private process server to present the lawsuit papers on the physical person of the defendant. Within a couple of days from the date we served the defendant, we received a telephone call from his attorney and the case was immediately resolved.
Fred Antenberg is a Family Law attorney in Columbia, Maryland, practicing law in Howard County and in surrounding counties in the State of Maryland. Contact Fred at 410-730-4404.