WHO REALLY OWNS THE ENGAGEMENT RING?
IS AN ENGAGEMENT RING MARITAL PROPERTY IN SOUTH CAROLINA?
An engagement ring given prior to the marriage is considered a conditional gift. A conditional gift is a gift that is ‘conditional’ upon another act. In the case of an engagement ring, the condition that must be met is the marriage. If an engagement is ‘broken off’ then the condition is not met and the ring should be returned to the person who gave the ring if he requests the return of the ring.
If an engagement is ‘broken off’ and the ‘giver’ of the ring wants the ring back it is best for the ‘giver’ to request the return of ring in a timely fashion or else the ‘giver’ may expose themselves to a more complex legal action in which the question may become, ‘Whether the ring was conditional or whether it was an outright gift’.;
If the parties get married:
If, however, an engagement ring is given prior to the marriage and the parties wed the condition has been met and the engagement ring is considered the woman’s non-marital property in South Carolina.
If one party files for divorce:
If a party files for divorce under the scenario explained above the engagement ring will most likely be considered the non-marital property of the wife.
Sources: McClerin v. McClerin, 425 S.E.2d 476 (1992); Campbell v. Robinson, No 4969 (SC Ct. App., May 9, 2012); SC Code of Laws § 20-3-630
Alex Kornfeld is a Divorce and Family Law Attorney in Greenville, South Carolina. His practice consists primarily of Family, Criminal Defense, and Business Law issues. You may reach Atty. Kornfeld at his office at 864-335-9990.