Engagement: When “Yes” Becomes “No”

In the News

Have you just accepted a marriage proposal? Is your “yes” an official commitment? And if you change your mind, do you have to return the ring or compensate your ex?

No legal commitment

Accepting a marriage proposal only states the intention to get married. It is not a commitment in the legal sense. For the courts, an engagement is considered a moral, religious, or cultural gesture. A breakup is not a sufficient reason to sue your ex.

As for the ring offered during the proposal: according to the courts, it is a gift that you have the right to keep, whether the marriage takes place or not.

Some possible recourses

A breakup is not a sufficient reason to ask your ex for financial compensation in court. However, make sure you keep the promises you made before the breakup. For example, if you were to pay half of the marriage fees and you do not keep that promise, your ex may take legal action against you.

At any point in the process, ex-partners can try to talk to each other and work out a compromise through mediation.

Cancelling everything at the last minute

If you and your ex-partner have signed contracts with businesses, such as booking a venue or catering, be careful! You may have to pay a cancellation fee.

If you refuse to pay, these companies can ask each of you for their share. However, they cannot claim the full amount from you, unless the contract clearly says that this is possible. This is what we call being “solidarily liable.” In the case where your ex paid all the costs, you may owe them a refund.