Some courts hold that an engagement ring is a conditional gift that becomes an absolute (effective) gift only on marriage. Other courts conclude that when an engagement ring is given to the donee, the donee should have full ownership rights in the property.
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My personal stance is that it is a conditional gift given in contemplation of marriage. If the marriage is broken off by the male, she keeps the ring. But if she breaks it off, he gets it back. It is kind of the "if he changes his mind penalty". If she breaks it off, she doesn't get to keep a nice present without going through with the underlying reason for the ring. . So essentially it depends on who is at fault for breaking off the marriage. If it is not able to be determined, or if it is a mutual agreement, then the guy gets the ring back. . To me it just seems fundamentally fair. Someone does not buy someone a ring as a gift. They buy it as a wedding ring. So the innocent party in any breakup gets to keep the ring because they have done nothing (or less than the other person) to cause the marriage plans to fall through.