Do I have to returnmy engagement ring if our wedding has been called off?

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Do I have to returnmy engagement ring if our wedding has been called off?

I discovered that my fiance cheated on me. He asked me for time to “think” but turns out he was with another women. I waited 3 weeks but there was no contact from him, no calls, emails or anything. Today I packed up all my things from the house and left. Now he finally contacted me to ask for the ring. By the way, the ring was given to me last Christmas. By now he might destroyed all the evidence of him cheating on me. What should I do?

Asked on June 15, 2011 under Family Law, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

An engagement ring is considered to be a gift made in contemplation of marriage.  Accordingly, the majority of courts have held that the gift is conditioned upon whether or not the marriage actually takes place.  If the marriage takes place, then the condition is satisfied and the woman is permitted to keep the ring.  On the other hand, if the marriage does not take place, the woman must return the ring.  This is true even if their fiancee has cheated on them (in fact if a couple is married and getting divorced, typically even adultery does not affect any property settlement).  


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