Who keeps the Engagement Ring?

What happens to the engagement ring if you and your fiancé decide not to get married? In most cases, an engagement ring is a gift from one person given to another as a promise to marry. In such case, the ring is not considered “marital property” until the couple has actually married.

If the ring is presented to the recipient on a calendar holiday, then it could be considered both an unconditional gift and conditional gift at the same time. If it’s given on a birthday for example, then it could not be considered conditional.  If there is a fault in the termination of the relationship, typically the ring will go to the party with no fault. If the parties are already married and are going through a divorce, fault in the term of marriage doesn’t affect ownership of the ring. Once the couple enters a marriage, the condition is met and the gift is complete. The ring is now a part of the division of assets because it’s considered marital property as is all other jewelry given during the marriage. The judge generally won’t change ownership of the ring unless it has significant value, or if the judge in his discretion determines that one party is at fault for failure of the marriage.  Then the judge could order a transfer of ownership.  However, in our society of No Fault Divorces, it is rare for a judge to make this order.


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