Who gets to keep the engagement ring?


That seems a trivial question, but it appears that many people ask that if they feel that they were taken advantage of when the spouse giving the ring backed out of the commitment.

According to the law in some jurisdictions, the ring is a conditional gift presented in contemplation of marriage.  That if the condition is not met, that if the condition isn’t met, that the person giving the ring is entitled to it.

That brings up many questions about whether someone should return an engagement ring if it was the person giving the ring that did something to break the engagement and therefore the marriage.  In some states the law says that gifts used to induce a person to accept the offer of marriage is not recoverable.  They just can’t ask for it back. However, if the ring was accepted by someone who just used it to mislead another into giving her or him the ring, then it the ring can be recovered.

In many states the court looks at who it was that broke the agreement to get married.  If it was the person giving the ring, the court will say that the ring does not have to be returned, and if the person breaking the agreement to get married broke the agreement, then that person should give the ring back.

However, in a modern approach, other courts have held that the general rule that the ring should be returned applies regardless of fault.  In modern times, it is not uncommon for both parties to contribute financially to the purchase of an engagement ring. In that case, the Court may determine that the value each one put in goes back to that person.

What if the ring is “lost”?  The Courts may determine that the person who lost the ring should give the person who gave it the value of that ring.

An increasing number of jurisdictions have adopted statutes abolishing actions for a breach of contract to marry. The states are split however on whether these statutes prohibit actions seeking the restitution of gifts given in connection with the engagement to marry; most courts allow the recovery of engagement gifts, but not all.

What most courts have agreed on however is that you cannot recover a ring that was given in contemplation of divorce.

Wanna know more about your rights to the ring and other marital or premarital property?  Give us a call, the consultation is FREE.  The Miami Law Firm 786-454-2411, vbao@thelawmiami.com.

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