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November 20, 2008


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I don't know the law, but every advice column I've ever read on the topic concluded the ring should be returned to the giver. The only exceptions are if the ring was given for a specific purpose other than engagement, such as a birthday or Christmas present, then the recipient has the right to keep it.

I think it would depend on the circumstances, who does the breaking up, whether one person cheated, etc.

From reading the article, what I want to know is who buys a $25,000 engagement ring? I mean, really?

Whoever bought it.

In some states (New York is one), it's the law that the woman has to give the ring back if she calls of the engagement (unless the ring was given for some other purpose, like a birthday or Christmas).

I took the ring back, but that was because my fiance admitted to infidelity and felt it was my right (and the ring could be traded in and I used it to buy my wife a much nicer ring).

About this time last year, there was a court case that made the news here in Nashville, TN. A guy had bought his fiancee a $5,000 ring and they had since broke the engagement off, and he took her to court to get the ring back. The court ruled that an engagement ring is considered a conditional gift to the pending wedding. Since they were no longer getting married, she was forced to return the ring to him, or compensate him for the item.

It gets ritually destroyed.

When my ex was dumb enough to cheat, then insane enough to leave pictures of her with another guy on the camera I bought her for Christmas, I sure as her spot in hell took the ring back.

Umm, this is settled law. The ring is a conditional gift. I'm shocked people don't know this.

In some jurisdictions in Ohio, it is not a conditional gift, but rather just a gift.

I forget which is which, as I'm happily married...but either in the county I grew up in or in the county I went to college in, it was conditional. In the other, it was a free-and-clear gift.

Aa year or two ago a similar case happened, but in this instance it was the man who broke off the engagement and the courts ruled against him when he asked for the ring back. I believe it is dependent on who breaks the engagement.

I bought a $25,000 ring for my wife. At least that is how the appraisal came in, I didn't pay quite that much. I have a great job, and I have made sacrifices in the past so I could afford the ring and I saved for it for a long time. I paid cash for it (Chase business rewards card and paid it off when the statement came in) without touching my emergency fund.

But, that makes me wonder... how much should you spend on an engagement ring?

I have to say that I think it was worth every penny. On a regular basis, I will catch my wife just staring at her ring (she has been wearing it for 2 years now) and I think we both enjoy the compliments she receives on it.

I was taught that the ring goes to whoever didn't call it off. So, when I broke off my engagement (for which good sense I am grateful every day of my life), I returned the ring to my ex. Had he been the one to break it off, I would have felt justified in keeping it.

10:51 went a little too far. The law is settled; s/he got that right. But while every state has made its decision, they're not all the same. There are some states that treat it as a gift (woman keeps) but the majority treat it as a conditional gift (condition is the marriage happens - until then, man gets it back).

So yeah, this isn't a matter of opinion, except for those few recipients in the unconditional-gift states. For them, they can keep it if they want but aren't obligated to return it.

And please forgive the reference to traditional man buys/woman receives in the analysis above. It was a lot easier to just write it than to deal with both gay marriage and women who buy rings for men or couples who exchange engagement rings.

Sorry, here's more information than anyone probably wants on the issue (see the link)

The law is the final opinion if something goes to court. But that doesn't mean everyone has to do it that way. People can choose to give someone a gift or return a gift.

Personally I think the couple should decide between themselves. Generally my opinion is if you called off the wedding then you don't get the ring.


Personally, why would you want to keep the ring anyhow? It's a sign of a relationship that didn't work out.
The lady in the piece didn't seem to want it when she threw the $25k ring at him.

What about if you were only married for one year. Who gets the ring? The one who didn't ask for a divorce?

It's not so easy since a lot of couples today have co-mingled finances, they may have bought the ring together. But let's assume the traditional man bought woman ring situation. If she breaks it off, she returns it. If he breaks it off, she can keep it. Even if you get the ring back it's not worth what you paid for it, they're considered bad luck. Of course if you're looking for a deal a divorce ring will be cheaper, just don't let your fiancee know what it is (hopefully it's not inscribed)!

I kept mine when I called off my engagement, but that's because the diamond was from my mother's engagement ring. And my ex had spent all of like $40 on a setting so it's not like he really lost out on anything. Nor did I. :)

The ring belongs to the person that bought it. You want the ring, you pay your ex for it. If that happened to me, I'd get that ring back no matter what it took.

An engagement ring is accepted with the promise of marriage. If you call off the wedding, you have broken your promise, so the ring goes back.

Well I can tell you that the majority of states follow the rule that unless the ring is given on a holiday or birthday (special occasion, etc.) when it is considered a gift; the ring should be returned to the person who bought it. HOWEVER, I spent approximately $ 10,000 on an engagement ceremony, celebration, invitations, food, etc. and my fiance did not help at all because he conveniently lost his job immediately prior to that weekend. Further, when he became a nasty verbally abusive person and his insecurities were shown, I called it off, so I dont think it matters who called it off because I am not a doormat. I kept the ring and I will replenish my savings account because its not fair that I spent all this money when he was pretending to be something he's not just to get into my family.

my fiancee cheated on me after he asked me to marry him, i kept the ring because he gave it to me - it was a promise that HE didnt keep... i wouldn't give it back to him! it was a gift to ME and I was not the one who cheated and called off the engagement... however, i was then faced with having a ring I never wanted to wear that sat in the box in my bathroom for over a year... Instead I took it to a jeweler and had all 13 diamonds reset into a neclace and matching earrings and I love them, I think it depends on circumstances and who broke off the engagement...

Ohio courts have split on whether an engagement ring must be returned to the proposer. Here are some cases to take a look at to compare your situation. [Wion v. Henderson (1985), [Patterson v. Blanton, 109 Ohio App.3d 349]. In the Patterson case there is a 'no fault' law that eliminates the need for a trial. It varies with each case, and there's not always a way to lay blame on one individual for the divorce.

I'd say it depends on the circumstances. I would have given back my engagement ring if my husband and I didn't get married since it was his grandmother's matter who's "fault" it was, it was her ring.

I have been engaged for about 2 years and recently found out he has been cheating, he feels that he should get the ring back, we have a joint bank account since way before the ring was bought and I have paid just as much on it as he has....What happens in that case??? Neither one of us "paid for the ring in full." Should the ring be sold and the money be split 50/50?

Alana --

If you paid for as much of it as he did, my thought would be that you should sell it and each get 50%. That's more than fair to him -- especially since he's the cheater and cause of the break-up.

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