Who gets the engagement ring after a broken engagement?

Asked on February 12, 2016 under Family Law, Nebraska


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The majority of state courts consider an engagement ring to be a "conditional gift". In other words, a gift given on condition that a future event, in this case a marriage, occurs. If the event does not occur, then the donor (the person giving the ring) has the right to get the gift back.
However, fault does matter. So the donor should not get the ring back if the donee stood ready to go ahead with the marriage but the donor broke off the engagement; just as it would be unfair for the donee to keep the ring if the engagement was broken because of the donee's unfaithfulness or other wrongdoing.
So depending on the details of the case, which you didn't provide), the ring may or may not have to be returned.

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