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Is it Required to Return the Ring in a Broken Florida Engagement?


The breakup of an engagement can in some cases be just as emotional and financially stressful as a marriage falling apart. With more couples purchasing homes and other assets prior to marriage, there are a lot of financial aspects to deal with if one partner breaks off the engagement. One of the main assets that couples fight over is the engagement ring.

Florida law is pretty clear on what the process is regarding the engagement ring if the relationship breaks down. The law considers an engagement ring to be a conditional gift. This means that the ring is given to the partner with the promise or expectation of marriage. If the marriage doesn’t take place, the person who gave the engagement ring is entitled to its return in most cases.

Which Party Broke off the Engagement?

One of the main elements the courts in Florida look at is which party broke the promise of marriage. This can impact the court’s decision on who should keep the ring. If the recipient is the party who breaks off the engagement, some courts feel the ring should be given back to the party who gave it since it was a conditional gift and the conditions were not met. If the person who broke off the engagement is the one who gave the ring, some courts will allow the recipient to keep the ring since they were not the cause of the marriage not going forward.

In the event breaking off the engagement was a mutual decision the engagement ring still typically goes back to the person who gave the ring.

What Happens if the Ring Was Given on a Holiday?

Things can be more complicated when you start looking at “what if” scenarios. What if the ring was given as a gift during a holiday? For example, the ring was given as a Christmas gift along with the proposal? Or on Valentine’s Day? What about a situation where the ring was given as a gift on the recipient’s birthday?

In these situations, the court may conclude the recipient can keep the ring if they can prove the ring was a gift and not necessarily contingent on the promise of marriage.

Other complications can include scenarios where the recipient of the ring agrees to marriage only if additional conditions are met. If the party who gave the ring didn’t live up to those conditions, there may be cause for the recipient to keep the ring. For example, when the recipient is presented with the ring, rather than replying with a “yes” the recipient says they will get married provided the other party does something in return, like seek treatment for a drug or alcohol problem.

Retaining a Florida Family Law Attorney

If you have questions regarding who keeps the engagement ring, or other related family law matters, it’s important to speak with a Florida family law attorney. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White have experience handling everything from prenuptial agreements to divorce settlements. Please contact our office at 561-391-9943 to schedule a consultation.


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