Who Keeps the Engagement Ring if the Wedding is Called Off?

Given that it is not uncommon for people to spend a small fortune on engagement rings, it is no surprise that, when a marriage never takes place and the engagement crumbles, the fiancé who gave the ring will want this piece of finery returned. Can the recipient keep the engagement ring, or should it be returned? In Missouri, an engagement ring is considered a conditional gift, which means that a recipient is can only keep the gift upon fulfilling the condition. In this case, the condition is marriage.

Treating Engagement Rings as a Gift

Why does the law consider an engagement ring a gift? For something to be a gift under the eyes of the law, generally it must fulfill the following requirements:

  • The person who gave the item intended it to be a gift;
  • The item was actually given to the recipient; and
  • The recipient accepted the gift.

Unconditional gifts typically cannot be revoked if they fulfill the aforementioned requirements. Engagement rings are considered gifts, but can either be conditional or unconditional, depending on the state.

What is a Conditional Gift?

Generally conditional gifts are given in anticipation of a future action or event and, if the event or action does not occur, the gift must be returned. Missouri typically classifies engagement rings as conditional gifts and, as such, awards it to the giver in the event of a failed engagement, provided the giver is not the person who terminates the engagement. In some cases, a recipient might try to argue that the condition was agreeing to the proposal, but this is usually an ineffective argument.

Compassionate Family Law Attorney in Missouri

If your engagement failed to lead to a trip down the aisle, you probably want that expensive ring back to try to recover your losses during this difficult time. At Galmiche Law Firm, P.C., in Missouri, our family law attorney is backed by over 30 years of experience and a proven track record of success in assisting clients throughout a variety of family law matters. 

Get started on your case today and contact our law firm at (636) 552-4841 to request a consultation with our knowledgeable and compassionate family law attorney.


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