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The month of December is one of the busiest months for first time engagements despite the U.S. ranking as the tenth highest nation when it comes to divorce. According to national statistics, November and December account for 26 percent of all marriage proposals. Not only is it the onslaught of the holiday season, but for many it means the promise of a new beginning. But what happens to the engagement ring if the sparkle fades and the engagement is called off?
Once upon a time, the answer varied state by state under what was defined as “breach of promise” acts but many states have abolished these rulings. If you and your former betrothed reside in Illinois you will need to devise your own plan as to how to handle a broken engagement as Illinois abolished such act under the Breach of Promise Abolition Act (740 ILCS 15), January 1, 2016.
It is believed that the abolishment of promise act was overturned as in many instances the prospective groom did not have a hand in the wedding planning and when the engagement was broken off they were looking at astronomical liabilities.
So what does happen to the engagement ring? In Illinois, just as a soon to be wed couple may legally draft a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it is advised to also draw up a contract to handle all wedding expenditures for a union that may never reach the altar.
With today’s average cost of an engagement ring chiming in at $6,000 and total wedding expenses reaching an estimated $30,000 a contingency plan, beginning with what happens to the bauble should rank at the top of the list.
For those calling off an Illinois wedding, the engagement ring is to be returned, no ifs, ands, or buts. The state defines the ring as a conditional gift as it represents the promise of upcoming nuptials. Once a wedding is called off the ring no longer represents the promise of an event to come and should be returned to the person who purchased the ring. (Vann v. Vehrs, 260 Illinois App.3rd 648 N.E. 2d 102, 198 Illinois Dec. 640 Illinois App. 2 Dist. 1994).
If during this holiday season you are certain that your engagement ring, as well as your wedding ring, have lost their luster and you are contemplating divorce, the experienced Hinsdale divorce attorneys of the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio would sincerely like to help. With over 75 years of combined legal experience our team sincerely understands the challenges you are facing but by working together, we can help to ensure a brighter new year. Contact our office at 630-920-8855 to learn more about our services today.