In our thirty years of family law practice here in Southern California, we have handled a few cases where one person wants the engagement ring he gave to his fiance returned to him because the wedding plans fell through. What exactly are your options if this happens to you?
It was a Gift: Often times the ex-bride-to-be will argue that her fiance gave her the ring and it should be treated as a gift. No ifs, ands or buts. Hence, she gets to keep the engagement ring no matter what. Most of the time, this argument fails because engagement rings are given in exchange for marriage.
Conditional Gift: The gift of the engagement ring was given to someone in contemplation of marriage. This is the most popular argument made in an effort to get the engagement ring returned. Now that the marriage never happened, the ring cannot be kept by the ex-bride-to-be.