When you have found your soul mate and you plan to get married, most couples will purchase an engagement ring to memorialize their relationship and their road to marriage. Sometimes the ring will be purchased by one party and sometimes it is a joint purchase made with joint funds.

Although it may not be romantic to think about, there is a possibility engaged couples will break up and decide to go their separate ways. Many couples are then left asking: when an engagement is called off, who keeps the ring?

Who gets to keep the ring?

Many states have laws which explicitly address which party gets to keep the engagement ring in the event a couple breaks up and goes their separate ways. In many states an engagement ring is known as a "conditional gift". The ring is given with the expectation a marriage will take place. In the event the marriage never takes place, then whichever party gave the ring has the right to ask for it back and to keep it. In California, sometimes "fault" can be a consideration in determining ownership rights. That is to say if you break off the engagement, you are likely to have to return or give the ring to your former partner.

How do I get the ring back?

If you are legally entitled to the engagement ring, hopefully your former partner will act in a fair manner and voluntary return it. If they do not and depending on the value of the ring and the circumstances surrounding your relationship you have the option to file a claim in small claims court or contact a lawyer who can file a lawsuit on your behalf to regain the ring.

An engagement ring is typically one of the most expensive items given by one party to the other before they are married. Engagement rings may also be family heirlooms or have other significant sentimental value which makes it important for one party to retain over the other party. If you have experienced the break-up of your relationship and your former partner is refusing to return the engagement ring you purchased, contact the Law Office of Steven M. Bishop today to speak to one of our family law professionals. We have been representing San Diego residents for over 40 years and have built our reputation on integrity and zealous client representation.

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