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Family Law Attorneys

Diamonds are a girl's best friend, but who gets the ring?

Relationships end for a variety of reasons. In some cases, there is a definable moment in which the pair realizes it is over and in others they simply grow apart. Property division is essentially a part of any separation in Dallas, whether it is the simple return of a boyfriend's sweatshirt or the complex division of a house, a car, retirement accounts and other assets in a divorce.

What happens when the relationship ends after the promise to marry has been made, but before the wedding has taken place? Who gets the engagement ring? A common view is that an engagement ring represents the promise to marry; it is essentially the consideration in the marital contract. When the wedding doesn't take place, the ring is often returned even if the one who proposed was also the one who ended the relationship.

A recent case out of New York likely would have ended without event and with a simple order to return the ring, but a few text messages pushed this break-up onto a national platform. In this case, the fiancée ended the 14-month engagement via text message.

During the back and forth between the pair, the would-be husband wrote “Plus you get a $50,000 parting ring.” Later, he wrote “Keep it up, and I will take back the ring as well.” The judge ruled that these messages altered the status of the ring from consideration to a gift. His final message citing the generally held legal principle only acted as “giver’s remorse,” said the judge.

The lesson to take from this story may be that writing, posting or sending messages should be done with caution. A Dallas divorce attorney can provide guidance on how certain messages could affect a family law matter and effectively handle any unexpected issues that could arise.

Source: The Buffalo News, “Judge rules jilted woman can keep $53,000 diamond engagement ring,” Patrick Lakamp, April 5, 2014

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