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With This Ring: Who Keeps The Engagement Ring When Couples Split Up?

On occasion, I get questions about who gets to keep the engagement ring when a couple ends their relationship. Because I am such a romantic, I decided that Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to address this issue. The answer, as in most instances, is, “it depends.”

1. When you break off the engagement before the wedding: Minnesota Courts, along with most others, have held that an engagement ring is a “conditional gift.” This means that getting married is an “implied condition of transfer of title” to the ring. In other words; no marriage, no ring – it must be returned.

2. When you divorce: If the marriage happens, the condition for the gift has been met and title transfers. In simple terms, once you say “I do,” you get to keep the engagement ring, even if you later divorce.

3. When you upgrade or purchase the ring after the wedding: In some cases, people may not be able to afford an engagement ring before they get married and buy one later. Other times, people may add on to the engagement ring or trade it in for a “nicer” one. Items purchased during the marriage are presumed to be marital, so the value of the ring (or at least the value above that of the original ring) would be part of marital estate to be divided. In this case, the parties essentially split the value.

To discuss rings, property division, or any other family law issues, call Kruse Family Law at 612.231.9865 or email

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