Who Keeps The Engagement Ring if the Wedding is Cancelled?

Murchie_sm-48You have found your lifelong mate and you’re ready to get married. Congratulations! It’s an exciting time in your life.

Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned for everyone for one reason or another and if you find that the wedding is canceled, who keeps the ring? Some courts consider the ring as a “gift” and once given, it can’t be taken back. If you gave a sweater to someone, you can’t come back a year later and take it back. It’s a gift and once given – done. Other courts look at the circumstance of when a ring is given. If your fiancé gave you the ring as a Christmas, Valentine’s Day or birthday present, the court may call it a gift and let you keep it.

Some courts consider the engagement ring as a “conditional” gift. The ring is given with the expectation that a marriage will happen in the future. If the wedding doesn’t happen, the gift “fails” and some courts say the giver has the right to take back the gift. The ring is symbolic as a pledge and if the pledge is broken, she must return the ring.

This is no uniform law in the United States and it is just something you should be knowledgeable about.   In Missouri I have been told that the Missouri courts consider an engagement ring as a conditional gift in contemplation of marriage and that it is not a completed gift unless the parties get married. So, if there is no marriage, the guy is entitled to the ring back. However, in Missouri there is also another little caveat that says if the donor is responsible for the break up, the gal gets to keep the ring since she was not responsible for the failure to get married.

In reality, do most guys even want the ring back? Does a woman want to keep the ring? What is your thoughts on this matter?

Note:  This article is not intended to be legal advice and it is intended for informational purposes only.   Please consult an attorney if this situation is one that you face.


Posted in

Leave a Reply