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

UPDATED: Jun 15, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Jun 15, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

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


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

Answered 11 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).  

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption