An engagement ring given on the condition of marriage must be returned to the giver if the relationship fails.
An engagement ring is considered a gift in Alaska. If the engagement is broken, a fault-based process is used to determine who gets to keep the ring. In this case, the ring will stay with the person who did not break the engagement.
There is no Arizona statute or case law on the question of whether an ex-fiancé is entitled to have an engagement ring returned to him.
Arkansas considers an engagement ring to be a conditional gift. A conditional gift is an item that is given to another person with the expectation that they will satisfy a certain future condition to retain the gift. When you propose to another person in Arkansas and gift them with an engagement ring, the future condition that is implied is that you will marry this person in the near future. If the wedding does not occur, then the person who purchased the ring is entitled to ask for the ring back.
The "donor" is the person who proposed the marriage to their partner with an engagement ring. The "donee" is the person who accepted the proposal of marriage, along with the engagement ring. Under Civil Code § 1590, upon the termination of the relationship after the engagement and at any time prior to marriage, the person who purchased the ring (i.e. the donor) is entitled to the ring or its value in the situation where the donee sold the ring to a third party.
Colorado's law of gifts conditioned upon marriage suggests that if the engagement is ended by the person with the ring, the ring must be returned, and if ended by the other party, the ring can be kept.
An engagement ring is presumed to be a conditional gift, which must be returned if the engagement is canceled regardless of who is at fault for the breakup.
Delaware considers engagement rings to be conditional gifts and uses a fault-based approach to determine ownership. If the recipient calls off the wedding without fault on the giver's part, or the breakup is mutual, then the ring has to go back.
Florida treats engagement rings as conditional gifts. The ring goes back to the giver if the breakup is mutual, or the recipient calls off the wedding. The giver might even be able to recover the ring after calling it off themselves, depending on the reason for the breakup. (Like catching them cheating, for example.)
Georgia law states that an engagement ring is a conditional gift from the donor to the donee. The donor must intend to give the ring as a gift, and the donor must actually give the ring to the donee. The donee must accept the ring and the engagement. In general, if the marriage does not occur, the ring should be returned to the giver. However, in the case of a dispute or added complexity, a judge's decision may be necessary to determine the rightful owner of the ring.
Hawaii is a 'no-fault state' when it comes to divorce law, so it is likely that 'no fault' would also apply to engagement rings and they would be viewed as a conditional gift and returned to the giver.
It appears that there has not been a precedent set on whether an engagement ring is viewed as a conditional gift in Idaho, and therefore must be returned if a marriage does not take place.
It's likely that an Idaho court would view an engagement ring as a conditional gift, but it's not possible to say whether they would a 'no fault' rule where the ring is returned to the giver regardless of who is at fault for the breakdown of the relationship, or whether an 'at fault' ruling may be applied where the ring is kept by the person who is not 'at fault' for the engagement ending.
Illinois treats engagement rings as conditional gifts that must be returned regardless of who caused the marriage not to take place.
In Indiana, engagement rings are conditional gifts that must be returned, without regard to fault.
In Fierro v. Hoel, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that engagement rings are conditional upon the marriage taking place. If the wedding is called off, it goes back to the giver, irrespective of fault or reason.
In Heiman v. Parrish, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that engagement rings are conditional by nature, and declined to consider fault. So if one lives in Kansas, the ring has to go back to the giver.
In Kohen v. Sellar, the Kentucky Court of Appeals found that engagement rings are a conditional gift, and if the recipient calls off the marriage, then the ring must be returned.
Louisiana regards engagement rings as conditional gifts, which only become absolute once the wedding takes place.
Maine is a fault-based state but with a twist. If the recipient breaks off the engagement without justification, the ring has to be returned, and if the giver calls off the wedding, the recipient can keep it. But unlike most other fault-based states, the recipient can also keep the ring in Maine if the breakup was mutual.
In Maryland, an engagement ring is considered a 'conditional gift' – given with the expectation that a marriage will occur in the future. If a relationship breaks down and there is no marriage then the condition of the gift is not met, which means that the person who gave the ring has the right to receive it back.
Massachusetts regards engagement rings as conditional gifts but doesn't take the modern no-fault approach. The person who gets to keep the ring depends on who ended the engagement and why.
Michigan's Court of Appeals ruled in Meyer v. Mitnick that engagement rings are conditional gifts, and that fault is irrelevant, so the ring goes back to the giver under almost any circumstance.
Engagement rings are conditional gifts, and the law doesn’t take fault into account, so they must be returned.
In Mississippi, engagement rings are viewed as 'conditional gifts' given with the anticipation that a marriage will occur. If an engagement is ended, the ring must be returned to the giver irrespective of who caused the relationship to end. This is known as 'no fault'.
Missouri treats engagement rings as inherently conditional but uses a fault-based approach when determining ownership. If the giver calls off the wedding, then the ring belongs to the recipient. (Provided the breakup wasn't caused by the recipient's bad behavior, such as cheating or fraud.) Conversely, if the recipient calls off the wedding without justification, then the ring belongs to the giver.
In Albinger v. Harris, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that engagement rings have "no implied or express condition," so the giver loses any claim to the ring the instant it's handed over. There is one caveat, though: If the ring was acquired through fraud or deceit, the giver can still sue for its return.
Nebraska treats engagement rings as conditional gifts that were presented in anticipation of marriage occurring. If the engagement is ended and the marriage does not take place, the engagement ring must be returned to the ring giver regardless of who caused the marriage to not take place. This is known as 'no fault'.
While there is no published opinion from the Nevada Supreme Court on who should receive an engagement ring in the event that a relationship breaks down before a marriage can occur, the general opinion is that Nevada would follow the "general rule" where an engagement ring is viewed as a 'conditional gift', dependent on a marriage taking place.
If no marriage occurs then the conditions of the gift are not fulfilled and the ring still belongs to the ring giver and should be returned.
New Hampshire is a fault-based state, which means that the person who is 'at fault' for ending the relationship is considered when deciding who should keep an engagement ring.
The engagement ring goes back to the giver if the wedding doesn't take place. The person who ended the engagement and the reason for the breakup is pretty much irrelevant.
The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that engagement rings are conditional gifts by nature, and that fault is immaterial. In short, if the wedding doesn't happen, the ring goes back, regardless of who broke it off or why.
New York treats engagement rings as conditional gifts and doesn't take fault into account. One caveat: if the giver was still married to someone else when giving the ring, then it is the property of the recipient and can't be recovered. (Best to wait until the divorce is final before proposing again.)
North Carolina follows the modern trend, regarding engagement rings as conditional gifts that must be returned if the wedding doesn’t take place, regardless of fault.
Unlike most other states, an engagement ring isn't necessarily seen as a 'conditional gift' which should be returned if the conditions of the gift (the marriage) aren't fulfilled. In a 1992 case, Kohler v. Flynn, the judge ruled that the ring was an unconditional gift and did not need to be returned. However, depending on the circumstances of a new case, the Kohler v. Flynn judgment may not set a precedent, and the result may be different.
Engagement rings are conditional gifts and declined to consider fault as a relevant factor. That means that if the wedding is off, the ring gets returned.
Like most states in the US, Oklahoma treats engagement rings as 'conditional gifts' i.e. a gift given on the understanding that a marriage will take place. If the marriage does not happen, then the ring must be returned to the ring giver, regardless of who was at fault for the relationship ending.
There are a few legal precedents in Oregon that can help us understand the court's likely position on whether a ring should be returned in the case of a broken engagement. However, there is no information on whether who is at fault for a relationship breaking down and a marriage not taking place would be taken into account to decide who should keep the engagement ring.
Pennsylvania uses the 'no fault' approach to deciding on who should keep the engagement ring in the event that a marriage doesn’t happen after an engagement: the ring should be returned to the ring giver, regardless of who was at fault.
The giver can reclaim the ring, but only if the recipient was at fault for the wedding not taking place.
Engagement rings are viewed as conditional gifts and it is likely that they should be returned to the ring giver if a marriage doesn’t happen, regardless of who is at fault for the breakdown of the relationship.
An engagement ring is a gift given in contemplation of marriage so if the marriage occurred it is no longer the recipient’s and should be returned.
No matter what the reason, if the wedding doesn’t materialize, then the ring must be returned to the giver.
According to the ruling, if the recipient breaks the engagement or is otherwise at fault, then the ring must be returned. But if the giver breaks it off without justification, then the recipient gets to keep the ring.
Utah is one of the few states in the U.S. where the law regarding engagement rings in a broken engagement is still unsettled.
Vermont is another state with no established legal precedent regarding the ownership of an engagement ring if the marriage does not take place.
As with many other states in the U.S., Virginia considers engagement rings to be a conditional gift, given under the understanding that a marriage will occur. If the relationship ends before the marriage occurs, the ring should be returned to the ring giver, regardless of who was at fault for the relationship ending.
If the recipient calls off the wedding or if the breakup is mutual, the ring has to be returned. The only way the recipient can keep the ring is if the giver breaks things off without justification.
An engagement ring is treated as a conditional gift in West Virginia, as in most other states. This means that it is a gift given in contemplation of marriage. If the marriage does not occur then the terms attached to the gift have not been fulfilled and the ring remains the property of the ring giver and must be returned.
Wisconsin’s Court of Appeals found that engagement rings are conditional gifts by their nature, and decided to take a no-fault approach, in line with the state’s no-fault divorce policy. So if the wedding doesn’t happen, the ring must be returned.
Many states which are 'no fault' for divorce apply this to engagement ring decisions also. This indicates that Wyoming may follow the 'modern' decision with engagement rings and return the ring to the ring giver regardless of who was at fault for the relationship breaking down. However, there is no established legal precedent in the state.
Ring Must be Returned to Giver
|Alabama||If wedding does not occur|
|Alaska||If recipient ends engagement|
|Arizona||No established legal precedent|
|Arkansas||If wedding does not occur|
|California||If wedding does not occur|
|Colorado||If recipient ends engagement|
|Connecticut||If wedding does not occur|
|Delaware||If engagement is ended by recipient or mutual decision|
|Florida||If engagement is ended by recipient, mutual decision, or by giver for justifiable reason (such as the recipient cheating)|
|Georgia||If wedding does not occur|
|Hawaii||No established legal precedent|
|Idaho||No established legal precedent|
|Illinois||If wedding does not occur|
|Indiana||If wedding does not occur|
|Iowa||If wedding does not occur|
|Kansas||If wedding does not occur|
|Kentucky||If recipient ends engagement|
|Louisiana||If wedding does not occur|
|Maine||If recipient ends engagement|
|Maryland||If wedding does not occur|
|Massachusetts||If recipient ends engagement|
|Michigan||If wedding does not occur|
|Minnesota||If wedding does not occur|
|Mississippi||If wedding does not occur|
|Missouri||If engagement is ended by recipient or by giver for justifiable reason (such as recipient cheating)|
|Montana||If recipient acquired ring from giver through fraud or deceit|
|Nebraska||If wedding does not occur|
|Nevada||No established legal precedent|
|New Hampshire||If recipient ends engagement|
|New Jersey||If wedding does not occur|
|New Mexico||If wedding does not occur|
|New York||If wedding does not occur, unless engagement is canceled because giver is already married|
|North Carolina||If wedding does not occur|
|North Dakota||Unclear. A 1992 ruling said the ring need not be returned, but ruling may not be legal precedent|
|Ohio||If wedding does not occur|
|Oklahoma||If wedding does not occur|
|Oregon||No established legal precedent|
|Pennsylvania||If wedding does not occur|
|Rhode Island||If recipient ends engagement|
|South Carolina||If wedding does not occur|
|South Dakota||If wedding does not occur|
|Tennessee||If wedding does not occur|
|Texas||If recipient ends engagement|
|Utah||No established legal precedent|
|Vermont||No established legal precedent|
|Virginia||If wedding does not occur|
|Washington||If engagement is ended by recipient or mutual decision|
|West Virginia||If wedding does not occur|
|Wisconsin||If wedding does not occur|
|Wyoming||No established legal precedent|