Do I legally have to give items back if they were received as gifts?
3 attorney answers
If these were gifts then they are youres and you don't have to give them back. The determining legal factor in a gift is the "intent" if the giver. If this were to go to court, either civil or criminal, the first question woukd be whether you have the superior right to the property based on a gift. As to typical " girlfriend gifts", like jewelry, it will be difficult for your ex to convince a judge that the property was his snd you stoke it, or that the things were merely loaned to you.
You woukd want to have evidence to support your case as best as possible. Do you have the cards that came with any of the gifts? Do you have cards and letters and emails etc that show your BF GF relationship? We're you living together? Witnesses who. Can testify about the relationship and/ or the gifts?
I woukd hope that he woukd wise up. Obviously trying to hurt you.
This will not be a police matter, but it could end up in court. We recently litigated a boyfriend's claim for return of a Tiffany engagement ring and other jewelry. The lawsuit lead to a negotiated settlement. But the law that applies to engagement rings is different than the law applying to gifts that are not given in exchange for the promise to marry.
Top Contributor 2018
Top Contributor 2017
Top Contributor 2016
Top Contributor 2015
Top Contributor 2014
Top Contributor 2013
Top Contributor 2012
Wow, amazing how love quickly turns to spite when the boyfriend loses his girlfriend. No, a gift is not subject to any legal requirement to return the gift. A gift is a gift is a gift, and such a gift does not automatically turn into a loan just because the romantic relationship breaks up. In court I once observed a judge ask a gentleman who was demanding his jewelry back from his wife during the divorce, and the judge asked him, "Are you telling me that you bought this jewelry for your wife as a loan? So are you going to be wearing this jewelry if you get it back?" The gentleman said, "No, I won't be wearing it, but it is mine because I bought it." The judge responded, "No, sir. You bought that jewelry for your wife as a gift, and it remains a gift whether you stay together or break up."
I suggest you stay away from this fellow who wants to put you in jail for breaking up with him. Any man or woman who threatens criminal prosecution because of a romantic breakup should be avoided at all costs.
On the other hand, if this guy is really as bad-tempered as it sounds, and if it appears to you that he could become a stalker or dangerous in any way, perhaps to preserve your safety you might be better off returning the jewelry and then making sure you never have anything more to do with him as long as you live (unless you two have children together, in which case you have no choice but to deal with him).
This is NOT legal advice, is GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and does NOT establish an Attorney/Client Relationship with you. Therefore my answer cannot address your specific legal situation and you should not rely upon my answer in your legal matter. I am an attorney licensed in Maryland and California.
Sign up to receive a 10-part series of useful information and legal advice about the divorce process.