Reading time: 3 minutes

Remember when, in the wonder that was Series 2 of The Bachelor, Blake just weeks after dropping to one knee, and presenting Sam with a gorgeous Bunda engagement ring, dumped her?

Most people’s minds probably turned to issues of morality and the pain sometimes associated with love. As a lawyer, mine instead turned to the more imminent, practical question, “Is she legally allowed to keep that sparkler?”.

In determining the answer to that question, a two-step approach is required. Firstly, does the Family Law Act apply? If not, when Blake gave Sam the ring, what were the terms of the agreement?

The Family Law Act would apply if the couple in question were in a de facto relationship at law when the ring was given. Here, the ring would likely be deemed ‘an asset’ and as such, be available for distribution between the parties in the usual manner.

When the Court distributes property from this available pool, they consider a number of factors including the length of the parties relationship, and the degree to which they were financially interdependent on one another. The Court’s approach is the same whether the distribution is ‘global’ or on an asset by asset basis.

If the Act does not apply, then the common law comes into play. Although this is not a settled area at law, it appears that the law sees an engagement ring as a ‘conditional gift.’

What this means is that Sam could keep the engagement ring if and only if, the wedding took place, and she wasn’t the one who called it off. It is implied into the relevant agreement between her and Blake.

In one case, the poor groom-to-be did not want to end the relationship. But his partner wasn’t interested and eventually threw the ring into the garbage bin. The judge found that the woman, having rejected the gift of the ring, breached the applicable agreement and was ordered to pay her broken hearted ex-lover the monetary equivalent of the ring’s value, plus costs.

The Judge held that the applicable legal principles were that when a woman has received a ring in contemplation of marriage, and then refuses to walk down the aisle, she must return it. This is because she has failed to fulfill the conditions of the gift.

Crucially for Sam, the Judge also held that in the absence of a recognised legal justification, the man could not demand the engagement ring’s return if he refused to carry out his promise of marriage.

Although Sam had not been in a de facto relationship with Blake (she had only known him a few months while production took place), she was wronged (so wronged!). So after careful examination of the applicable law, I was happy to conclude that Sam was legally entitled to the ring and entitled to sell it for her own gain.

A happy ending after all, it seems.

Please note that LegalVision is a commercial law firm and cannot assist with these matters.

Webinars

Construction Contract Essentials

Thursday 12 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Understand how construction contracts are drafted and how to protect your construction business.
Register Now

Startup 101: Understanding Cap Tables and ESOPs

Thursday 19 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Cap tables and employee share option plans are essential for fast-growing startups. Learn more with this free webinar.
Register Now

Expanding to NZ: Structuring Your Business For Success

Thursday 26 August | 2:00 - 2:45pm

Online
Launching a business in New Zealand? Understand how to structure your business for success with this free webinar.
Register Now

Preventing Modern Slavery: Your Business’ Legal Obligations

Thursday 9 September | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Are you an Australian business with $100m+ annual consolidated revenue? Learn how to determine if you are a modern slavery reporting entity and your obligations under the legislation with this free webinar.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. From just $119 per week, get all your contracts sorted, trade marks registered and questions answered by experienced business lawyers.

Learn more about LVConnect

  • 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation – Finalist – Australasian Law Awards 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice – Winner – Australasian Lawyer 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer