Is this theft?

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Is this theft?

My ex fiance broke off the engagement, no
fault of mine. He wasn’t ready.
We agreed that I keep the ring because he
broke the engagement, together 2 years.
Then he refused to give me the GIA certificate.
Doesn’t the paperwork belong to the owner of
the ring? He sent a video today of him burning
it. The ring is worth much more with the
certificate.

Asked on October 30, 2018 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

This is NOT theft. He gifted you the ring; when someone makes a gift, he is free to decide what to include in the gift and what to not include. For example, if I give somone my collection of vintage albums, I am free to remove and keep some of the album covers and liner notes if I like the art and want to keep them--even though those nominally "go with" the albums. Because this was a gift--something I am freely doing and which I was not required to give--I have 100% discretion to decide to hold part of back. Similarly, your ex-fianace did not have any legal obligation to give you a ring: he freely chose to do so. Having freely chosen to give it to you, he was free to give you only the ring and not the certificate. Look at this way: the ring may be worth less without the certificate than it would be with it, but it's a (presumably) diamond ring you were given for free, so anything it is worth puts you ahead of the game.


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