Engagements don’t always see their way through to marriage, but what do you do with an engagement ring if the engagement is called off? If you’re Wyatt Koch, son of billionaire Bill Koch, you may have to go to court. The younger Koch is suing his former fiancé Ivie Gabrielle Slocum for the $180,000 ring (which Koch’s lawyers now value at $250,000) and $15,000 in damages.
The couple broke it off in May of 2017, and now Koch is suing in a Florida court after Koch stated he had asked for the ring’s return several times. Koch states that the ring was a conditional gift, and because that condition was not met (they never got married) she should return it.
The ring in question is no small stone, but an 8.24-carat cushion-cut diamond filled out with two additional baguette diamonds.
Does Koch deserve the ring back or does Slocum deserve the ring because it was a gift? According to Peter Walzer of Los Angeles’s Walzer Melcher, it depends on who initiated the breakup in the
Koch case. Melcher points out that the ring is a conditional gift, if the breakup was mutual or if it was the fault of the one who received it, the ring-giver should get the ring back. In some cases – if the one who gave a ring calls the wedding off the one who received may keep it since they were not responsible for the engagement’s ending. If the ring is given on a holiday or birthday before the marriage, it’s not viewed as a conditional gift. Lastly, once the couple is married most states see the ring as a piece of mutual marital property.
According to Family Find Law:
“In most cases involving revoked gifts, where all three requirements were shown, the court held that the given item was a gift, and the receiver got to keep the item.”
This is all but in engagement rings.
Most states follow a policy of no-fault, conditional gift giving for engagement rings and award the ring to the giver in case of a breakup. Because most states classify engagement rings as a conditional gift, chances are Slocum will have to return the ring to Koch, though the courts may need to figure out who broke up the engagement first. For now – the courts look to be on Koch’s side.
Special thanks to JohnAtencio.com and their designer jewelry team for contributing this post.