Engagement Ring Return Law Florida
Florida, along with the majority of other jurisdictions, holds presents of engagement rings to be conditional gifts. The present carries an implied condition that a marriage ensues. Florida is also among the majority of “implied condition” jurisdictions that recognize that the condition of ensuing marriage may be implied by the nature and inherent symbolism of the engagement ring and upon failure of the condition, the donor is entitled to recover the engagement ring. See Gill v. Shively, 320 So.2d 415 (4th DCA Fla. 1975) (which states that the donor of the engagement ring may recover the ring if the engagement is terminated by the donee or by mutual consent of the parties).
[box]The court in Gill specifically references the situations in which the donor may recover the engagement ring when the implied condition of marriage does not occur; when the engagement is broken off by the donee, or by mutual consent of the parties. Id. However, what is not included in that statement is any mention of the donor recovering the engagement ring if it is the donor who breaks the engagement. The Florida courts have been relatively silent on this issue since Gill, save for distinction that Gill applies only to cases where the condition of marriage was not satisfied, and not marital property disputes over engagement rings where the parties were actually married. Greenberg v. Greenberg, 698 So. 2d 938 (4th DCA Fla. 1997).[/box]
Florida became a no fault jurisdiction in 1971. The effective date of the ‘no-fault divorce’ law, Ch. 61, F.S.1973, was July 1, 1971, Mosher v. Mosher, 321 So. 2d 450, 451 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1975).
Shively the controlling case in this matter was issued in 1975. A no fault argument pertaining to an engagement ring found by Shively to be a conditional gift is not persuasive.
Based on the law in Florida, the donor would be entitled to the recovery of an engagement ring when either the done or both parties mutually decided to terminate the engagement. However, there appears to be no such claim to recover the ring when it is the donor who breaks off the engagement. Therefore, if it is the donor who breaks off the engagement they may not have a rightful claim to the ring. However, there are a myriad of circumstances that exist that might militate against this result i.e. the donee had been unfaithful or had done some other bad act that would result in injustice in keeping the ring.
If you need help recovering an engagement ring or you need help defending the return of an engagement ring, contact the divorce attorneys at Filler Rodriguez, LLP.