Engagement Rings – No returns?

Engagement Rings – No returns?

The Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal has recently heard an application where a man took legal action against his former fiancé to reclaim her engagement ring[1]. This case highlights issues as to whether, at the end of a relationship, an engagement ring is a gift that cannot be recovered or whether the legal system can intervene to return the ring to the party who purchased it.

In the above case, the Applicant, Mr O, argued that at his engagement party he and his family gave the Respondent, Ms Y, numerous gifts including an engagement ring. Both parties conceded that the engagement was called off as a result of mutual unhappiness and discontent.

Further, Mr O argued that the engagement ring was given to Ms Y on the condition that the parties eventually married.

Mr O’s case to recover the ring and other gifts from Ms Y was dismissed by the Tribunal for the following reasons:

1.  The tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to deal with the matter. However, in some circumstances the Family Court does have the power to intervene;

2.  The termination of the engagement was not a unilateral decision by Ms Y but rather, it was a joint decision made by the parties;

3.  Due to the joint decision being made, the tribunal could not find that there was a breach of any contract to an agreement to marry.

Of course all families are unique and if you have any questions regarding your property you should seek independent legal advice regarding the facts that are relevant in your matter.

[1] Originally reported by ABC News on 14 November 2016.