Kardashians and Engagement Rings - Engagement Ring Law in North Carolina.
So evidently, Rob Kardashian visited L.A. jeweler Ben Baller to pick up his 7 karat round brilliant cut VS1 clarity (in a WS diamond eternity band setting no less) $375,000 engagement ring for Blac Chyna. This got me thinking of a blog post I wrote back in 2011 about Kim's 72-day marriage and what would happen to her huge ring. Enjoy:
The Wedding is Off, So Who Keeps the Ring? (November 2011)
So Kim Kardashian filed for divorce after only 72 days of marriage. Maybe she was actually being sincere when she said she hoped the marriage would be forever but that things just didn’t work out as planned. But it’s hard not to wonder, like everyone else, if the whole thing was a money making stunt. It’s hard not to imagine reality show producers already scripting next season (watch as Kim bravely adjusts to life after divorce!). I could rant about how the entire spectacle from the beginning, whether a sham or not, has been just the kind of fatuous, self-absorbed, hot pink media dreck that further inoculates us against the once-acknowledged “sanctity” of marriage. Instead, I will talk about her huge engagement ring.
What will happen to that massive 20.5 carat $2 million Lorraine Schwartz emerald cut engagement ring? More importantly, who would get to keep your engagement ring if you called off your engagement or got divorced? Like everything else in the law, it depends. In some states it depends on who breaks off the engagement. In others, the ring is treated as a gift that cannot be taken back once given. In North Carolina, the general rule is that an engagement ring is a gift to the prospective bride that is implicitly conditioned on the marriage taking place. To be considered complete, a gift in North Carolina requires the intent to make a gift, coupled with the delivery of the gift and the loss of dominion and control over the gift by the giver. In terms of an engagement ring, the gift of the ring is conditioned on the marriage and is therefore only complete after that condition has been met. That means that where there is no marriage, the ring is generally going to be returned to the prospective groom. However, once the couple gets married, the condition on the gift is met, the gift is thus complete, and upon divorce the court will most likely treat the ring as the wife’s separate property that is not subject to equitable distribution as marital property. This would be true even for very short marriages.
Given the general rule, of course conflicts arise. Suppose a husband has a special attachment to the engagement ring – perhaps it is a family heirloom – and wants to be sure it stays in the family if the marriage should end. One way to address this is to have a lawyer draft a prenuptual agreement with a provision that the ring be returned to the husband in the event of a divorce with the wife receiving reasonable compensation for its value.
As for Kardashian, she is probably entitled to keep the ring. The couple had a prenup and her divorce filings request that miscellaneous jewelry she acquired before, during, and after her marriage be confirmed as her separate property. If you have any questions or would like to know more about property rights related to marriage and divorce, feel free to explore this site or contact my office directly.
*Update: Rumor has it Kim only gave back the ring after she became pregnant. Whatever the case, the ring sold at auction for $749,000.00 in 2013.