Does man get ring back if woman breaks off the engagement?


The Florida law is clear that, when the woman breaks off the engagement, the man is legally entitled to the return of his engagement ring.


Attorney Tom Olsen: You taught me something new the other day.

Chris: What's that?

Attorney Tom Olsen: The laws changed since I went to law school. Maybe the listeners out there would be interested in this and they'll come to their own conclusion what might happen and that is this, that a man ask a woman to marry him. As part of doing so he gives her an engagement ring, let's just call it a $10,000 ring, okay? Let's say that she accepts his ring and they're all set to get married, they're engaged. Then she breaks it off. She breaks it off.

Back in law school-- we studied a case back in law school, what happens to the diamond ring? Is he entitled to get it back if he sues her? In the law school, the question was-- it went one way but the new law is something different now.

Chris: In the State of Florida, and, of course, this area of law can vary from state to state but in the State of Florida, the law is that she must return the ring.

Attorney Tom Olsen: When I was at law school, the case law ruled that it was a gift and a gift was a gift. He would not get it back even if she was the one to break off the marriage. These days I think they've got a different conclusion to the court system and I think it’s got to be based on whether there're on contract. That the man and woman have entered into a contract to get married to each other and they're-- I guess there's consideration for it. The ring has passed hands and if she breaks that contract the law says he now gets that ring back.

Chris: Exactly. I think, Tom, too that you are right on. That it's really-- they're using contract law as really the basis for this and think about it, it's in essence that she breached the contract by saying, "No I'm not going to marry you" and so he deserves and gets that ring back. The Florida law, though, by the way, is very clear that if he gives her a beautiful $10,000 ring for her birthday, that's a gift. Doesn't have to return it even if they break up.

Attorney Tom Olsen: That makes sense. No contract there.

Chris: Exactly.

Attorney Tom Olsen: That sounds like a perfect law-- bar exam question to me.

Chris: I think you're right. It does. Well, when you think about teasingly, I know you do all the time, lawyers will say, “Yes you only need to know that for an exam" or that type of thing. I think something like that is, you really can use in real life even when you're just talking to friends and family.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Yes. I'm sure it's happening every day. People want to know.

Chris: Absolutely.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Alright, thank you, Chris, we appreciate that.