An engagement ring is a gift, but it’s different from other types of gifts. Part of the reason for this is that it’s expensive. Some engagement rings cost tens of thousands of dollars, and people will spend months or years saving up to buy the ring that they want.
If you and your spouse decide to get divorced, and you were the one who purchased that engagement ring originally, you may become very interested in what’s going to happen to it during the property division. After all, you gave it to your spouse before you were married, and it is something that you likely bought fully with your own funds. Does that mean you get to keep it, or does your spouse get to keep it because you gave it to them as a gift?
A conditional gift
The way that courts generally view an engagement ring is that it is a conditional gift. This is the second thing that’s different from other gifts. If you were to give your significant other a television, and then they broke up with you, you could certainly ask for it back, but they would have no obligation to give it to you.
An engagement ring is different because it is provided on the condition that the two parties will become married. If your significant other breaks it off before you get married, then you should get the ring back because they didn’t fulfill their part of the condition.
But this is also where divorce gets tricky because they have fulfilled the condition to marry you, so the court may determine that that has already been met and the ring is now a shared asset. It’s very important to understand what legal steps you can take.