Engagement Rings – who gets to keep it if it all goes wrong?

11 engagement ring

Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day see more than their fair share of marriage proposals every year.

Newsfeeds are full of couples changing their relationship status to 'Engaged', mobile phones are pinging with the sound of ten thousand Facebook likes and photographs of The Ring are popping up on Instagram (#NoFilter).

But planning a wedding is stressful and often involves a series of disagreements about guest lists, gift lists and to do lists that can take their toll on a relationship.

So what happens if popping the question leads to blowing up the relationship completely…who keeps The Ring?

The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1970 provides that an engagement ring is presumed to be an absolute gift. That presumption can only be rebutted if the ring was given on the express or implied condition that it should be returned if the marriage does not go ahead. It is generally accepted that if the ring is a family heirloom then it is implied that it will be returned if the relationship fails.

So, unless the proposer either implies or expressly states that The Ring is to be returned if the marriage doesn’t happen, The Ring can stay on the finger (or be immediately taken to the pawn shop).

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