Engagement Ring

The engagement ring is considered a gift, and you do not have to return. That’s why he wants you to sign a paper saying you will give it back. Don’t sign it. The ring is yours.[:)]

Thank you for your response.

why would you want to keep an engagement ring from somebody who wants to not marry you? That seems greedy/money hungry to me. I would give it back, otherwise you look like a gold digger.

Why would someone give an engagement ring if they didn’t want to marry that person? No one is expected to give a gift back. While I agree that in some circumstances an engagement ring should be given back (ie. family heirloom) it is ridiculous to call someone greedy because they want to keep a gift that was given to them freely. Maybe people need to put more thought into marriage before buying an engagement ring to begin with.

I counter with why would someone want to keep an engagement ring if the relationship goes sour? The point of an engagement ring, in our over-materialistic world, is to show a woman you want to marry her, and to prevent other’s from marrying her, so you buy her an expensive ring and now she is “yours”. In my opinion, an engagement ring is really a down payment in disguise. If you never get the product that you put a down payment on, why should you lose your down payment? Some may think this is chovanistic (sp) but think about what I just typed. It makes sense. Why do you think thousands of men do this every month???

Why is it that us guys don’t get anything that expensive when we get engaged? Maybe for the same reason all the domestic violence sites in NC refer to the victim in the feminine… Like “protection from the abuser for her and her children”.

Things have to change. I never hit my wife. She hit me. I never harassed my wife. She harassed me. She has a 50-b against HER. Yet she can walk into brunswick county and file a bogus stalking charge against me the day AFTER she gets served with a 50-b notice. It’s not fair and it needs to change. I expect to be locked up again, once she gets charged with harassment and violating the 50-b. What will happen to me then? Geez, I can’t wait.

Sorry I digress, back to the ring. True it’s a gift “legally” but morally, I look at it as stealing unless the guy was a total jerk and was cheating or something. Keeping the ring is either for immoral personal gain or for getting revenge depending upon circumstances.

see this link:


I totally understand your feelings about this, my husband, too, was physically and verbally abused by his ex-wife.[xx(] He finally left her and is much happier now.[:D] By the way she kept the engagement ring, as well as most everything else. [:(!]

The engagement ring stems from tradition established by the paternalistic society which we live in, just as you said that a man gave an engagement ring to a woman to “own” her. Society has changed alot since then, and I agree traditions haven’t caught up with the current trends in society. However, most men today know that they do not own a woman just by buying her an engagement ring, it is a symbol of trust and love between two people. In the society we live in today it is wise for either a man or woman to proceed into engagement very carefully.

In remark to your down payment remark: A down payment is a “promise” to purchase the item you put the down payment on, in most situations if you don’t buy then you don’t get your down payment back.

Instead of a down payment, an engagement ring is more like an investment. A person invests money into the stock market with the hopes of making more money, it doesn’t always happen. If the shareholder loses money the company does not owe him anything for his loss. An engagement ring is an investment in the future, and if you decision of a future spouse is not good, then you cut your losses and move on.

I personally believe that if the man breaks the engagement the woman should keep the ring, and if the woman breaks the engagement then she should give it back to the man. Despite my personal belief that is not a legal opinion.

If a man gives a woman an engagement ring I would hope that his interest is more than just “owning” the woman, such as love, trust, friendship, etc.

Just some thoughts.[:)]

I totally agree with nwkltl about keeping the ring when the man does the breaking up. Also, since this was around Christmas, it was probably considered part of her Christmas present, if not all. If this is the case, did he give her back everything she gave him for Christmas?? When a ring is given as a gift (Christmas, birthday, Etc.), it is just that, a gift.


if you and your bf split up you have to give the ring back!! an engagment is a symbol of a verbal contract … an agreement between you and he to marry. if you break up that contract is breached and the ring must be returned. sorry … but it ain’t yours for good sweetie … even if you marry and divorce you have to give it back.

That is not what the Judge told me!!! The Ex wanted my ring back after the divorce. It was given to me at Christmas as an engagement ring/Christmas present. The Judge told the Ex that the ring was mine to keep.

Anything given to someone before marriage such as an engagement ring is a gift that does not have to be returned. In a divorce the wedding ring is considered marital property, but the engagement ring is considered separate property which will be kept be the woman. This of course can be negotiated and agreed to differently between the ex spouses, but legally if the ex wants to keep it then she keeps it.


Greetings. The ring - it was a gift to you, but also a contract to marry. I don’t know that law on this issue, only that it is separate property when you get married. Thank you and sorry to hear it is not working out for you.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

301 McCullough Drive Suite 510
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
919.787.6668 main fax


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

The ring is given in “consideration” for a contract of marriage. If the recipient should break the contract before the vows are exchanged the ring needs to be returned. If the vows are exchanged the contract is completed and the ring is the separate property of the recipient. She broke our engagement, she refused to return the ring, I sued, the court awarded it to me in North Carolina, March 2006

I’m a woman who was given an engagement ring on December 22, 2006. My financee and I are know having problems and without just coming right out and saying he wants the ring back, he keeps asking me to sign a document stating I will return the ring should we part ways. He also keeps hinting that he wants me to end the relationship. What is NC law on the issue of an engagement ring? If I call it off, does he keep it, or vice versa? Or, since the ring was a gift, do I have to return it legally? Is it considered conditional or unconditional or does that even apply in NC law?

Thank you for your help, and you guys keep up the good work.