Edgewater, MD asked in Divorce for Maryland

Q: If a man gives a woman an engagement ring and then he calls off the engagement/wedding is the ring his property or hers?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jason Ostendorf
Jason Ostendorf
  • Hunt Valley, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: I see you're in Edgewater, MD. Although I'm a <a href="https://www.ostendorflaw.com/practice_areas/maryland-divorce-lawyer.php">divorce lawyer in Baltimore County</a>, I can provide some general guidance on this issue as it's a common question that often arises when engagements end.

In Maryland, an engagement ring is typically considered a conditional gift, that is, a gift given with the understanding that a certain event – in this case, a marriage – will take place. If that event doesn't happen, the giver of the gift (the man in your scenario) may have a right to get the gift back. In other words, if the man gives the woman an engagement ring and then he calls off the engagement or wedding, he may be able to claim that the ring should be returned to him.

However, it's important to note that this is a general principle and there can be exceptions. The specifics of the situation, including the exact words and actions at the time the ring was given, can impact the outcome. For example, if the ring was given as a gift for a birthday or a holiday rather than specifically as an engagement ring, the recipient might be able to argue that it was an unconditional gift and she should be allowed to keep it.

Every case is unique and depends on its particular facts.

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