Getting Engaged And The Pitfalls

It’s safe to say that engagement rings do not come cheap. They can be expensive and are a meaningful investment. Dealing with any kind of break up can be extremely painful and the question of who keeps the ring can cause additional stress.

Some of the most expensive celebrity engagement rings are in the millions; for instance, Paris Hilton, whose engagement ring is worth $4.7 million, or Beyoncé, whose ring is worth some $5 million or maybe even actress Elizabeth Taylor; her engagement ring cost a whopping $8.8 million when she said yes to fellow actor Richard Burton.

English law is relatively straightforward. An engagement ring is generally classed as a gift. As such, the recipient should legally be able to keep it as theirs. However, where an engagement ends, it could be argued that the gift was given on condition that the couple would actually marry. If the wedding is called off the gift should be returned.

This is not always easy to prove though; imagine posting the ‘I said yes!’ picture on social media which shows a lovely diamond engagement ring, alongside the legally binding contract that states you will return the ring in the event you do not get married. Not exactly the romantic proposal you were expecting. The rights to the engagement ring get even more complex if the ring is a family heirloom and say, belonged to your great grandmother.

There is the option to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement which explains what will happen to the engagement ring upon divorce. However, this option is expensive just to protect a ring, although arguably it may be worth it dependent on how much the ring is worth.

In any event, it can be a stressful and sensitive topic which can sometimes lead to arguments and, at worst, require the involvement lawyers and a great expense.

If you’d like any further information or need family advice, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our Family Team.

Like to talk about this Insight?

Get Insights in your inbox

To Top