During divorce proceedings and the division of assets, a common question that comes up is who keeps the wedding ring. In the state of Texas, the engagement ring is a gift that is conditioned upon the acceptance of the proposal of marriage. Once the acceptance is made, then it becomes the property of the person who accepted the proposal of marriage. Following the proposal, the ownership of ring can sway depending on a variety of different factors.
During a divorce, the wedding ring is the separate property of the person who accepted the proposal of the marriage. In the State of Texas, the wedding ring or engagement ring is only conditional on the acceptance of the engagement, not the wedding itself. Other states marriage and divorce laws declare the wedding ring is legally bound on the promise of marriage and only becomes the property of the person who accepted the proposal following the marriage.
Wedding Called Off
Because the engagement ring is a conditional gift in the state of Texas, this can cause additional complications for ownership of the ring if the wedding were to be called off. The ring does not always go back to whomever purchased the ring if a wedding is called off.
Wedding Called Off By Proposer
In 2003, additional clarification was added to the conditional gift agreement of an engagement in the case Curtis v. Anderson, 106 S.W.3d 251, 255 (Tex. Ct. App. – Austin 2003). Curtis proposed to Anderson making a conditional gift agreement which implied if the wedding was called off, the ring would be returned to Curtis. Although Curtis was the one who purchased the ring, the court ruled that if the wedding was called off by the giver of the conditional gift, the gift would not be returned.
Wedding Called Off By Receiver
If the wedding is called off by the person who accepted the proposal, the wedding ring is returned to the person who gave the ring. Because the ring is conditional on upholding a contract, it will be returned to the person who proposed if the receiver calls off the wedding.
Family Heirloom Wedding Ring
If the wedding ring used for a proposal is a family heirloom, there are special circumstances for the ownership of the ring if the wedding was called off or in the case of a divorce. If the ring is a family heirloom, then the ring should be returned unless the marriage has resulted in children. If there are children, the ring will be held for one of the children of the marriage.
Debt For The Ring
When the wedding ring is purchased on credit, the debt for the ring follows the person or people who incurred the debt. The wedding ring itself remains the property of the person who accepted the proposal unless the above-stated scenarios apply.