Who Gets the Ring If the Engagement Is Called Off?


As the holidays approach, many couples plan for an engagement. Holiday proposals frequently are rather public affairs with a profession of love and a request for commitment to marriage in front of family and friends. And the ring is fit for the occasion — extravagant, sparkly and beautiful.

What happens, however, if down the road the couple does not get married?  Who gets this fabulous ring?

The law treats the giving of an engagement ring as a conditional gift. In other words, the ring is given on the condition a marriage will take place. All the recipient needs to do to keep the ring is go through with the wedding ceremony, not merely accept the marriage proposal.

Urban legend would have it that the ring is returned only if the recipient calls off the wedding but that isn’t the case. Pennsylvania law is consistent with the modern trend of applying a no-fault rule to engagement ring cases. 

If the wedding does not take place for whatever reason and whoever’s decision, the ring goes back to the person who used it to pop the question. So go ahead and spring for that big rock because if the engagement is called off, you will be able to seek its return, through the courts if necessary.  

Although engagement may not seem like the appropriate time to consider possible separation, for high net worth individuals especially who might be apt to spend more on the ring and have more important assets to protect, it’s best to know your options. For more information on prenuptial considerations, contact one of the experienced family law attorneys at Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz LLC.

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