Posted by Emma Hawkins on 20th November 2019
Last updated 17th October 2022


This can be a moral minefield depending upon the reason for the engagement coming to an end. The person who bought the ring may feel entitled to the return of the ring, particularly if they feel they are the “wronged” party. Ownership of an engagement ring is usually quite easy to establish.  The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1970 outlines that “the gift of an engagement ring shall be presumed to be an absolute gift” meaning that the recipient is entitled to keep the ring. The Act does however state that “this presumption may be rebutted providing that the ring was given on the condition, express or implied, that it should be returned if the marriage did not take place for any reason.” Therefore if there was an agreement to return the engagement ring if the marriage did not proceed the ring should be returned to the giver of the ring.

It is not usual for the issue of the return of the ring to be discussed when it is given but it could be sensible to do so, particularly if it is a family ring or of sentimental value.

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Emma Hawkins is a Paralegal at The Family Law Company. She specialises is Divorce and Finance with an element of Children Law work. She works closely with Joint Managing Director, Rachel Buckley, on complex divorce and financial issues.

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