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Do I have to return the engagement ring if he breaks off the engagement in Alabama?

Huntsville, AL |

I would like to know if I have to return the engagement ring after he breaks off the engagement. I have not cheated lied or stepped outside our relationship he just wants to take things slow. He proposed to me (of course). I said yes and after 3mths of an engagement he states he is not ready to be married. he continues to ask for the ring back and I am not inclined to give it to him. we dated for only 2 months before he proposed and I thinking it was right said yes. He keeps telling me we can do this the hard way which I believe is his way of saying we can go to court. I do not want a court battle but he was the one in the wrong entertaining other females and such. Can someone please give me some insight as to what I should do, fight for it or just give the ring back.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. The answer may depend on whether the ring was an outright gift or a conditional gift given in contemplation of marriage. If it was an outright gift – it’s yours! However, there is little case law in Alabama regarding gifts given in contemplation of marriage. If the ring was given as a symbol of the promise to marry, with the acceptance of the ring be conditioned on the actual follow through of the marriage, then he would most likely be entitled to receive the ring back.


  2. This is the general rule:

    If he proposed to you on a random day, it is his property and you must give it back. If he proposed to you on your birthday, Christmas, etc., you have a strong argument that the ring is a gift and you can keep it. If he agrees to let you keep the ring in exchange for something else, you can keep the ring.

    Some states have specific case law on topic, and I am not aware of Alabama's stance. Not only did we learn the above rule in law school, but I learned this scenario from a failed engagement. Good luck.