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Who Should Keep the Ring in a Broken Engagement?

When a Couple Breaks Up Before They Marry, Who Should Keep the Ring?

In the latest Hollywood breakup news, 85-year-old Hugh Hefner has been jilted at the altar by his 25-year-old bride, Crystal Harris. Both parties claim to coping well; Hefner has tweeted that he's "happy to be single," and Crystal took to partying in Vegas on the day of the canceled wedding. Hefner's former fiancée might have had something to celebrate — she apparently got to keep the $90,000 three-carat diamond ring that the Playboy mogul proposed to her with, and a Bentley that he had given her.

There are so many things involved in the decision to give back the ring, such as who broke it off and traditional etiquette rules. If you're going by the legal system, you'll have to factor in where you live. In conditional gift states, which include New York and Michigan, the ring needs to be returned if there is no marriage. In an implied conditional state like California, it depends on who breaks off the engagement, and in an unconditional gift state like Montana, the ring does not have to be returned.

What's your take on this — if a couple doesn't end up getting married, who gets to keep the engagement bling?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
xxstardust xxstardust 6 years
In most states, it's legally considered a "conditional gift" - a gift symbolizing a contract; a gift given on the condition that a specific event will take place. The engagement ring is given as a symbol of the "contract" of intent to marry. If the engagement falls through and you are not married, than the gift giver is legally entitled to get the ring back regardless of who broke off the engagement. Most states will uphold this idea of no-fault engagement nullifcation; there are a few that consider the circumstances of the break up, but they're far and few between.
amyyduck amyyduck 6 years
My fiance broke off our engagement with no warning or explanation. He didn't offer to repay any losses my parents incurred from the nonrefundable deposits they had already put down so I kept the ring. He was a jerk. But I think if the woman calls off the wedding she should give the ring back, unless maybe the guy cheated or something.
Diana615 Diana615 6 years
If she breaks it off she should return the ring. If he breaks it off he should let her keep it.
booglass booglass 6 years
I am glad she got the Bentley now she'll have somewhere to live in a few months when we've all forgotten about her. And considering that she called off the wedding then she should return the ring.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 6 years
It was given with the condition of marriage so if he bought it he should get it back....regardless if he was a douche. If he doesn't want it back then I guess the woman can keep it. Why would you want to keep it? I wouldn't. Even if my intention was to sell it...there's some bad juju wrapped up in there somewhere. Feels wrong to me.
Gdeeaz Gdeeaz 6 years
I think the man should get it even if he was a douche bag. You only got the gift because you agreed to marry the guy. If the wedding isn't happening then give the ring back.
lickety-split lickety-split 6 years
if he was a shit; she keeps it. no question. it WAS a gift after all. if you got a bracelet and broke up he wouldn't get that back. but, if it was from his family, like his mom's or grandmothers, it should go back to him.
amber512 amber512 6 years
It depends on the couple's feelings and their personal circumstances.
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