engagement ring

What Happens To The Engagement Ring If There Is No Wedding?

Pennsylvania law has been clear for many years. If a person proposes and gives his/her intended spouse an engagement ring (and/or another type of gift) with the promise to marry and the wedding does not occur, the engagement ring, and/or any other gift given in anticipation of the wedding must be returned to the donor. This was because the engagement ring (and/or other gift) was a gift that was conditioned on the promise that a marriage would occur. The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently handed down a case that changed the law somewhat. In Campbell v. Tang, Mr. Campbell proposed to Ms. Tang to give her a diamond engagement ring, a matching pendant necklace, and matching diamond earrings. Ms. Tang accepted his proposal, and the parties began to plan a wedding.

Landmark Case: Campbell v. Tang Alters Legal Landscape

Much to her surprise, Ms. Tang learned about 3 days before the wedding that Mr. Campbell was married to another woman, and he could not get a marriage license hence the pirates could not get married. Ms. Tang refused to return the engagement ring, necklace, etc.

Superior Court Affirms Ms. Tang’s Right to Keep Gifts

Mr. Campbell filed a suit demanding that Ms. Tang return the engagement ring, etc. to him. The Trial Court found in favor of Ms. Tang and held that Ms. Tang did not have to return the jewelry. Mr. Campbell admitted that he had falsely represented that he was divorced. Mr. Campbell freely admitted that when he proposed to Ms. Tanning, and throughout the engagement, he knew that he would not be able to marry Ms. Tang because he was still married to a prior wife.

Void Proposal: Legal Basis for Ms. Tang’s Retention of Unconditional Gifts

The Superior Court affirmed the Trial Court’s decision and held that Ms. Tang was not required to return the engagement ring, etc. because they were unconditional gifts and the engagement could not be based on the parties marrying because Mr. Campbell’s proposal was void, because he was married to someone else and could not marry Ms. tang.

Getting Legal Representation

If you or someone you know has been involved in a situation like this, contact our team of expert attorneys today for a consultation. This article is meant to illustrate potential situations that may arise regarding engagements, jewelry exchanges, unconditional gifts, and more and is in no way legal advice. To obtain legal counsel pertaining to your specific case or situation, a consultation must be completed. The team at Pyfer Reese is here to help you understand the situation you face and present you with options to move forward.

Posted in News on by Pyfer Reese.