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Do you keep your engagement ring if you get divorced?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2022 | Family Law |

When you got engaged, your significant other gave you an engagement ring.  It’s very expensive and incredibly important to you. During the course of your marriage, you simply thought of this as an asset that you owned together.

But now you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce.  Your spouse has told you that they want the engagement ring back. Their reasoning is that they only gave you that ring because they wanted to be married, so they should get it back now that you’re not going to be married any longer.  They would like to sell it to recover the money they spent.

Of course, you also know how valuable that ring is, and you don’t think you should have to give it back.  It was a gift that they gave to you.  So who gets to keep it?

A conditional gift

The first thing to know is that an engagement ring is usually seen as a conditional gift.  The condition is that the other individual will get married to the person who gave them the ring.  If they break the engagement off before that, then they do have to return the ring.  That condition was not met.  They gave their word that they would meet it when they said yes, but failing to do that means they have to relinquish control of the asset that they were given in exchange.

A gift between spouses

In some states, this would mean that all the person has to do is get married to have full ownership of the ring.  But in Pennsylvania, the ring’s status changes when you get married.  It is considered to be a gift between spouses. These types of gifts are still thought of as marital assets, or assets that are owned by both people.

Therefore, if you’re getting divorced after getting married, then the ring has to be subject to asset distribution.  It can’t be divided, of course, but the other person could take other assets or the ring could be sold so the money can be split.

A situation like this can get complicated and everyone needs to make sure they know their legal options.


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