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Are You Supposed to Give Back Your Engagement Ring After a Breakup? A Lawyer Weighs In

porsha williams ring

Lauren Williams and Porsha Williams had a good laugh about Porsha wearing her engagement ring as costume jewelry. (Bravo)

Porsha Williams stunned her sister on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” Sunday when she wore her wedding ring to a party. The exchange begs a very big question about returning rings after a broken engagement or divorce.

“Is that your wedding ring?” Lauren Williams said on the Nov. 12 episode. “Oh my gosh. You’re wearing it like it’s costume jewelry.”

“It is costume jewelry!” the Dish Nation host, who wore the ring on her right hand, said. “It’s mine. And it’s a diamond!”

Williams split from her former NFL husband Kordell Stewart in 2013, but she’s still holding onto the symbol of never-ending love — long after she said goodbye to her ex. The reality star is just one of several celebrity women who have decided not to return her diamonds after a divorce or before a wedding.

“Basketball Wives” star Evelyn Lozada reportedly kept her engagement ring after she called off her wedding to Carl Crawford over his alleged cheating earlier this year, according to TMZ. Rather than give back her $1.4 million ring, Lozada reportedly wanted to keep it to pass down to her children.

Similarly, Entertainment Tonight reported Mariah Carey was keeping the $10 million ring Australian businessman James Packer gave her. After canceling their nuptials last year, the singer was spotted wearing the 35-karat sparkler while out with her 5-year-old twins.

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“An engagement ring is a gift conditioned on the couple getting married in the future,” said Shalamar J. Parham, managing attorney at Parham Law Firm, to Atlanta Black Star. “If the engagement is broken off, whether the recipient of the ring is obligated to return it depends on the state law. Some states require that the ring [is] returned regardless of fault. Other states only require that the ring be returned if the recipient is at fault for the breakup.”

In the case of Carey, she was allowed to keep her ring under California law. In that state, she has no obligation to give it back thanks to the 1950 case, Simonian v. Donoian.

Porsha has similar good news regarding her sporting her engagement ring long after she and Stewart split.

“A person that receives a gift from their spouse during the marriage is generally only required to return the gift if ordered to do so in the divorce decree,” Parham said. “Likewise, engagement rings typically do not have to be returned after a divorce since engagement rings are gifts conditioned on the couple getting married. Once the couple gets married, the condition of the gift is met.”

But is there anything a couple can do to avoid having such disagreements in the first place? Parham says an agreement could be drawn up.

“While unromantic, the giver of the ring could request their significant other to sign a contract promising to return the ring if the engagement is broken off,” she said. “If the engagement ring is not returned according to the contract, the giver of the ring could request that the courts enforce the contract.”


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