Who gets the engagement ring after a divorce?
May I keep my engagement ring after my divorce?
The South African law regards engagements rings as arrhae sponsalitiae, which means that engagements rings are gifts given by one spouse to the other as a pledge, reflecting a serious intention of the giver to marry the recipient.
May I keep my engagement ring if the ENGAGEMENT is terminated?
The general rule is that, if the engagement is terminated (before the parties got married) by agreement, the recipient will have to return the engagement ring to the giver unless the parties agree otherwise.
In the event of breach of promise, the innocent party will usually have a claim for the return of the ring (if the ring is not in her/her possession already) and in some cases also a claim for damages.
May I keep my engagement ring after a DIVORCE?
If the parties get married and decide to get divorced, the position is slightly different. As an engagement ring is seen as a gift, it is excluded from the joint estate and accrual. This means that the giver of the engagement ring will usually not have a claim for the return of the engagement ring.
The short answer: Yes, you may keep your engagement ring.
If, however, both parties agree that the engagement ring must be returned to the giver, the divorce settlement agreement should make provision for this.
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Nazli Williams (BCom LLB), director at Patton Williams Attorneys (iedivorce), is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, specializing in Divorce and Family Law matters. Her fields of expertise and interest include Divorce Law, Family Law, Domestic Violence Law and International Divorce Law. Her vision is to demystify Family Law processes, helping good people in plain language and with great technology, to achieve remarkable results.