Over the holidays, social media lit up with the shimmery engagement ring posts by newly engaged couples. A debate even circulated on Facebook that discussed the appropriate price to spend on an engagement ring. During the holiday season, some men should be wary of gifting an engagement ring. In fact, Wyatt Koch, heir to a billion-dollar dynasty may be a perfect example depending on when he proposed.
Wyatt Koch, son of Billionaire businessman Bill Koch, sued his ex-fiancé for the return of an engagement ring. Unconfirmed reports claim that ex-fiancé, Ivie Slocumb, called off the engagement. A Florida court has given the ex-fiancé, Ivie Slocumb, until January 2, 2018, to respond to the lawsuit.
Koch claims that he demanded the return of the ring multiple times and Slocumb refused to return it. Honestly, it’s not hard to understand why she didn’t. Koch’s attorney says the Oscar Heyman ring recently appraised for a hefty sum of $250,000! While information on Slocomb’s financial background is not available, it is safe to assume that Koch can spare the money. Like nearly all family law disputes, the underlying reason behind the suit is hurt feelings and revenge. For this reason, family law is one of the most stressful areas of law to practice. Hats off to family law attorneys!
Who gets the ring?
Generally, a gift belongs to the person who accepts it. Still, an engagement ring is classified as a “conditional gift” in most jurisdictions. This means the giver gave it under a condition and only when the condition is satisfied will the receiver become the owner. With an engagement, the giver gifts the ring with the expectation that a marriage will soon occur. In Florida, and most states, the giver of the ring gets it back UNLESS the giver called off the engagement. This is where the dispute usually occurs in court. Imagine what the evidence and testimony would look like to determine who broke up with who. The law becomes complicated when the giver called off the engagement or the giver committed an act of abuse.
Also, courts routinely find that the receiver keeps the ring if received on a holiday like Christmas or a birthday. This is because one could view the ring as a Christmas gift or birthday gift with no expectation of marriage. Although this is counter-intuitive, courts allow receivers to keep the ring under this logic. When married then divorced, the receiver is entitled to the ring because of the satisfied marriage condition.
The public is not privy to any details regarding whether Koch proposed on a holiday, birthday, or special occasion. Maybe Slocomb will argue that she did not ultimately end the engagement. Regardless, this court battle will definitely get dirty because emotions are high and feelings are hurt.
Even more important, marriage is not something to enter into lightly. Neither is an engagement. Be sure that you are sure!