Mariah’s engagement ring – what if she lived in the UK?
In sunny Los Angeles, it is alleged that songbird Mariah Carey has been allowed to keep her engagement ring, despite her fiance calling the wedding off. It would seem that in California, the person who has been given the engagement ring gets to keep the ring, if the other person has called off the wedding. Conversely, had Mariah called off the wedding, we are told that she would have been obliged to return the ring.
But is this the case in the UK? Not necessarily.
In the UK, there is a presumption that an engagement ring is an absolute gift. This means that the person who is given the ring is presumed to be able to keep it, even if the engagement breaks down. However, it is not always so clean-cut. The presumption can be rebutted if the ring was given on an express or implied condition that it should be returned if the engagement broke down. An implied condition might be where a ring is a family heirloom. The situation is not always so clear if the bride calls off the wedding. In those circumstances, who ends up with the ring?
The best way to avoid disputes about rings and other assets is to make a pre-nuptial agreement. This is an agreement between the parties engaged to be married that sets out the division of assets should they separate or divorce. Included in this document can be an agreement as to what should happen with the engagement ring and indeed any other piece of jewellery.
If you would like to discuss putting in place a pre-nuptial agreement, or even a post-nuptial agreement if you are already married, please contact us.
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