13 February 2013
Family Law Solicitor Cara Nuttall on Relationship Breakdown in relation to upcoming Valentine’s Day
In keeping with the Valentine’s Day tradition, it is anticipated that many a man will go down on one knee tomorrow to propose marriage giving the customary 'rock' as a signal of intention. Gentlemen in such a position may however be advised to take note if things take a turn for the worst, they may well not get their bling back.
When engaged couples separate, the most common issue is who gets the ring. Acknowledged etiquette suggests that if the Bride calls the marriage off, she should return it. The Groom, if feeling generous, may allow her to keep it. If it is the Groom that gets cold feet, he should allow her to keep it. The law deems an engagement ring to be a gift, and so the property of the recipient in the event things go awry, unless the ring is for example, a family heirloom, or the intention to demand it back has been made clear at the time. We don't however suggest a post-it note stuck to the shiner as it's handed with the words "to be returned to giver in the event of separation" - it may ruin the moment somewhat…
Over the years, jilted lovers have come up with many weird and wonderful ways to deal with a redundant ring and we have been called in on more than one occasion to negotiate a truce.
Whilst it is never nice to contemplate a Relationship Breakdown, if a ring has important financial or sentimental value, it is always wise to agree advance what would happen in the worst case scenario when heads are calm, and without the emotional backdrop of a Separation.