If my fiance broke the engagement, do I have to give back the ring?

UPDATED: Jul 25, 2011

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If my fiance broke the engagement, do I have to give back the ring?

My ex-fiance broke off the engagement. He is a resident of CA and he bought the ring there and proposed to me there. I’m a resident of FL. I’ve read that CA law states that if he broke the engagement then I’m allowed to keep the ring, but since I’m from FL I don’t know if this applies.

Asked on July 25, 2011 Florida


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The law surrounding broken engagement and the ring falls in two two separate categories.  One, is that an engagement ring is a gift given in contemplation of marriage and if the marriage does not happen then it must be given back.  Fault - or who broke off the engagement - is not considered.  The other category deals with who broke off the engagement so fault is indeed taken in to account.  I am unsure what you have read but in California it is my understanding that the ring is considered a conditional gift and must be given back if the condition is not met.  Fault is not considered. In Florida I believe they follow a different rule. Where the engagement is broken by the donee, most courts have held that the donor is entitled to the ring. Conversely, where the engagement is unjustifiably broken by the donor, he may not obtain the recovery of the ring.  Please check with a lawyer in your area just to be sure.  Good luck.

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