What happens to the engagment ring if the wedding is called off?

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What happens to the engagment ring if the wedding is called off?

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Asked on June 25, 2017 under Family Law, Connecticut

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In most states, an engagement ring is considered to be a "conditional gift". This is a gift given on condition that a future event occurs (here, one given in contemplation of a marriage). If the event fails to occur, then the "donor" (i.e. the person who buys the ring and gives it to their fiancee) has the right to have the gift returned. Accordingly, in our situation, if the wedding is called off, the would-be-bride must return the ring to the donor. This is so no matter whose "fault" it was. That having been said, in a few states, fault does in fact matter. The reasoning is that it is not always fair that the donor gets the ring back, especially so if the donee was willing and able to go ahead with the wedding and it was who the donor who broke it off. For specific information about how your jurisdiction handles such a situation, you can contact a local attorney.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In most states, an engagement ring is considered to be a "conditional gift". This is a gift given on condition that a future event occurs (here, one given in contemplation of a marriage). If the event fails to occur, then the "donor" (i.e. the person who buys the ring and gives it to their fiancee) has the right to have the gift returned. Accordingly, in our situation, if the wedding is called off, the would-be-bride must return the ring to the donor. This is so no matter whose "fault" it was. That having been said, in a few states, fault does in fact matter. The reasoning is that it is not always fair that the donor gets the ring back, especially so if the donee was willing and able to go ahead with the wedding and it was who the donor who broke it off. For specific information about how your jurisdiction handles such a situation, you can contact a local attorney.


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