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NFL Player Suing Ex-Girlfriend for Return of Engagement Ring

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Engagement ring by astrocoz on Flickr

Engagement ring (but not the one in litigation) by astrocoz on Flickr

Professional football player Roy Williams, currently with the Dallas Cowboys, has filed a lawsuit against his ex-girlfriend, former Miss Texas USA Brooke Daniels for the return of an engagement ring.

The couple had been together for nearly a year when last February, Williams sent the $76,000 ring and a recorded message to propose marriage to Daniels. She turned him down, but Williams still hasn’t gotten the ring back, so he’s suing his former love and her father—who is reportedly now willing to give back the ring in order to make the lawsuit go away.

But have you ever wondered who is legally entitled to an engagement ring in the event of a called-off wedding?

Even though according to Emily Post, proper etiquette is that a ring should always be returned to the giver if a wedding is called off, the law on this issue varies by state.

Texas, the location of the Williams lawsuit, follows the “conditional-gift rule,” which requires the return of an engagement ring only if the recipient was at fault in terminating the engagement. California has a similar law.

Other states such as New York provide that no matter who broke off the engagement or who was at fault, the ring should be given back. In stark contrast, Montana says a gift is a gift—and never needs to be given back to the donor regardless.

Obviously there are some states in which it’s more advantageous to be the giver and some where the recipient is favored—just in case things don’t work out. Not that we’re suggest you plan your proposal around that, of course.

What do you think about the status of the ring in broken engagements? Who *should* get it?

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July 7th, 2011 at 10:29 am