Under what circumstances must an engagement ring be returned?

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Under what circumstances must an engagement ring be returned?

The would-be-groom tried to commit suicide and is in a step down unit meaning he is getting better but can’t talk yet. He was caught making out withhis  mistress at hospital. The daughter is filing for guardianship and wanting to sell off the ring for money to pay for his care but his insurance has not ran out yet and family plans on signing up for other insurance when it does. The fiance believes he has broken the engagement is this correct?

Asked on October 18, 2010 under Family Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under Ohio law, unless there is an agreement to the contrary, the engagement ring is considered a conditional gift, given in contemplation of marriage.  When the implied condition of the marriage is not met then you are entitled to recover the ring or its value. In Ohio, the majority view is that the engagement ring must be returned regardless of who ended the engagement and for what reason.  But, at least one court in Ohio has ruled that, unless there is an agreement to the contrary, an engagement ring need not be returned if the engagement has been unjustifiably broken.  While this ruling has been criticized by other courts, it has not been overruled. Therefore, it all depends on what view the court you are in would decide to follow.


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