Will I have to give an non-ring engagement gift back? 9 Answers as of September 18, 2013

My ex-fiance and I have called off our engagement. He did not give me an engagement ring (I lost my left arm in an accident as a child), but a diamond necklace (not a ring on string, but an actually necklace). I am breaking it off, but only because I found out some information I did not know before, and it's not technically a ring, so do I have to give it back?

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Eric Johnson
Eric Johnson | Eric Johnson
In Utah, no, you are not required to return an engagement gift because it is a gift, not something bargained for.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 9/18/2013
Gaubert Law Office, A Prof. LLC
Gaubert Law Office, A Prof. LLC | Denis J. Gaubert, III
In Louisiana, yes. If the necklace was given in lieu of a wedding ring, as a gift in contemplation of marriage, it must be returned if the marriage does not take place. It is considered a donation or gift subject to the suspensive condition that the marriage take place. If the marriage does not take place, the condition is not fulfilled.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 9/18/2013
Peters Law, PLLC
Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
If it was a give in anticipation of marriage and you broke it off, I would say probably. It may depend on the information.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 9/17/2013
Glenn Milgraum PC
Glenn Milgraum PC | Glenn P. Milgraum
In NJ, as well as NY - Any item given in contemplation of marriage, whether it be an engagement ring, or necklace under special circumstances, is to be returned if the marriage does not take place.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 9/17/2013
S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
Engagement rings are seen as conditional gifts (gifts that become final upon marriage) and it the engagement terminates the donor has a legal right to its return. It is the engagement that makes the gift conditional and, by analogy, the same would be true here. Your necklace is a conditional gift, contingent upon marriage to make the gift complete. Therefore, if you have called off the engagement your fiance has a legal right to the return of your necklace.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 9/17/2013
    Gregory Brough, Attorney at Law | Gregory Brough
    Under Missouri law, an engagement ring is a conditional gift, conditioned on subsequent marriage. If marriage does not take place, ring must be returned. Same analysis for necklace in lieu of engagement ring.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/16/2013
    Ellis & Abouelsood | John Danelon
    The fact of whether its an actual ring or not is inconsequential. The courts are split on whether an engagement gift needs to be returned. The traditional view is that marriage is a contract, thus any goods gained as a promise to marry would unjust enrichment. Modernly, many courts see the ring or other similar item to be an irrevocable gift, thus would not have to be returned. There is no clear cut answer, though many do seem to be leaning towards the latter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2013
    Catchick Law, PC
    Catchick Law, PC | Matt Catchick
    There is case law that states the man is entitled to a return of the engagement ring, regardless of who broke it off, as long as the wedding never occurs. In your case, you will need to argue it was a "gift of jewelry" and not an "engagement necklace," which is probably what he will call it, in an attempt to get it returned to him.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2013
    Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation
    Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation | Elizabeth Jones
    If the ring was given as a symbol of your engagement (which is what and engagement ring is) and you are the one breaking the engagement, then you should give the gift back to him.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2013
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