Do I Have to Give Back My Engagement Ring if We Break Up?
Engagement rings are one of the most exciting aspects of a wedding. Many people dream for years of their perfect ring and are thrilled to find themselves engaged and later married. But just as the ring is a symbol of the hope of marriage, it can also be a source of conflict and sadness when the relationship comes to an end. Many people wonder - What happens to the engagement or wedding ring in a divorce?
When Does an Engagement Ring Have to Be Returned?
Illinois law regarding the ownership of a ring differs depending on whether a couple is married or engaged when the relationship ends. If the couple is engaged, then the person who ends the relationship may determine who keeps the ring.
Illinois courts have determined that gifts given as a promise of marriage are conditional on the marriage itself. If a man bought and presented his girlfriend with an engagement ring, and she later called off the engagement, she is required by Illinois law to return the ring. If the couple mutually agrees to end the relationship, the ring and any other gifts are likewise returned.
However, if the man breaks off the engagement, Illinois law is less clear. The consensus is that the woman may be entitled to keep the ring if it is the man who ends the relationship.
Do I Have to Return the Ring if We Were Married?
Once a couple is married, then the question is no longer about gifts but instead about marital and nonmarital property. Marital property is property that was obtained or accrued during the marriage, including real estate, vehicles, and financial instruments like investment accounts.
Engagement rings are often valuable pieces of property, and both spouses may feel entitled to ownership. However, non-marital property is not subject to division in an Illinois divorce, and gifts are generally considered nonmarital property - in other words, a gift belongs exclusively to the person to whom it was given. As long as the marriage takes place, the engagement ring is considered a gift, and the recipient is entitled to keep it in a divorce.
Contact a Batavia, IL Divorce Attorney
Understanding the law around marital and nonmarital property can be difficult. Hiring an experienced Kane County divorce attorney is your best bet for achieving a favorable outcome. Van A. Larson, P.C., has worked with a diverse range of divorce cases and will customize a strategy that fits your individual circumstances and preferences. Contact the office of Van A. Larson, P.C. today at 630-879-9090 for your free consultation.