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Who gets the Engagement Ring after a Breakup?

A couple meets, falls in love, an engagement ring is purchased, and a proposal is made. This is an exciting time, in fact many clients come to National Estate Jewelers of East Brunswick to select the perfect ring for their significant other. Sometimes things do not go as planned, and a marriage does not result. The question then becomes, “Who gets the engagement ring after a breakup?”

To answer this question, it is important to understand the gifting process, of which there are three components:

  1. Giving or delivering the gift to the receiver.

  2. The intent to give the gift by the gift giver.

  3. The gift being accepted by the receiver.

In addition, it is important to define the two types of gifts – unconditional and conditional:

  • Unconditional Gift: Most of the time, when a gift is given, it is an unconditional gift, meaning without any conditions. An example would be giving a bracelet or necklace as a birthday present or as a token of love. The gift was given and accepted, completing the gifting process. The gift now belongs to the receiver and is irrevocable.

  • Conditional Gift: As the name implies, the gifting process includes a condition or requirement, which if not met may be revoked. An engagement ring is usually considered a conditional gift, one that is completed once the marriage takes place. New York and New Jersey are conditional gift states.

Engagement Ring Laws

While an engagement ring is often considered a conditional gift, there are some circumstances and engagement ring laws that come into play:

  • If an engagement ring is given on a holiday or special occasion, it may be considered an irrevocable gift.

  • Some states – California, Texas and Washington have added fault into conditional gift giving. So, if it is determined that either party caused the breakup, then the ring would go to the other party.

  • Montana is the only state that treats the engagement ring as a gift; once given, it is irrevocable and becomes property of the receiver.

  • When a couple ends their marriage, the condition has been met, and in most states the ring becomes property of the receiver.

Do you give an engagement ring back? Despite engagement ring laws, sometimes emotions come into play. The giver may not want the ring back or the receiver may decide to return the engagement ring, despite the right to keep it. Yes, there are certainly emotional, as well as financial concerns that can arise. Many couples decide to obtain a prenuptial agreement (ante nuptial agreement), especially if it is a family heirloom.

Speak with an attorney for additional information. The content is not meant for legal advice.

If you find yourself in the position of a broken engagement and looking to sell your ring, the following information is vital:

Items are often needed. This may include the original bill of sale, appraisal (stating the purpose of the appraisal – insurance replacement, liquidation or fair market) and independent laboratory grading (Gemological Institute of America GIA, European Gem Laboratory EGL, etc.).

  • Bring the certificate! Some people believe that leaving the certificate home (especially the GIA certificate), will increase the amount received. This is not true. The certificate is like a pedigree or guarantee, and may generate an additional 10% of value.

  • Seek out a reputable business when selling your ring. Speak to friends, family members and co-workers to see who they recommend, read current online reviews and check with the Better Business Bureau (rating).

  • Proudly, National Estate Jewelers has a rating of A+ with the BBB.

Always keep your diamond in sight until a purchase is finalized.

Many people come to National Estate Jewelers of East Brunswick in need of an appraisal, as well as to sell their engagement ring. Our reputation speaks for itself, please review our testimonials. And remember, we never ask how much you want for your engagement ring. We believe it is unethical for a professional to ask. National Estate Jewelers is conveniently located at 212 NJ-18, East Brunswick, next to the FedEx office. Stop in or call 732-257-GOLD (4653).

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