Who Gets the Engagement Ring?

Question: Three years ago my boyfriend and I bought a home in downtown Glendale. We have been splitting the mortgage payments and other expenses. Last month I caught him cheating with his ex-girlfriend in our home. I moved out immediately to live with my mother. My boyfriend says that he still wants to keep living in our home, plus he said that he wants my engagement ring back. What rights do I have? Can I at least sell my engagement ring so that I can pay my mother back for some of my living expenses?

Answer: First, because you and your boyfriend are both on title, if there is no agreement on selling the home and how to split the sales proceeds, a partition lawsuit will have to be filed. The Court will appoint a Special Commissioner, e.g., a real estate broker familiar with the downtown Glendale area, to sell the home and deposit the net sales proceeds with the Court. If you and your boyfriend still don’t agree on how to split these net sales proceeds, there will have to be a trial. Finally, your engagement ring was a conditional gift, i.e., conditional on a marriage. Thus, even if your boyfriend was cheating on you, because there was no marriage, you have to return the engagement ring.

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