You picked out the perfect ring. It’s beautiful and you know your future fiancé will love it. When you propose, you’re not thinking about what will happen if you break up. Unfortunately, not everyone who gets engaged makes it to marriage, and not everyone who gets married stays together.

The average engagement ring in Maryland costs $5,872. When you spend a significant amount of money on one item, you’re probably concerned about what happens to it and you may want it back.

A broken engagement

Technically, accepting a ring means that the receiver promises marriage. Maryland considers this a conditional gift. Historically, courts have awarded the ring back to the giver if the marriage does not take place, leaving the conditions of the gift unfulfilled. However, there is the possibility that it will be a gift without conditions and will be the property of the receiver.

A divorce or separation

Looking again at a ring as a conditional gift, a breakup after the marriage has taken place means that the receiver of the ring fulfilled their promise and therefore, will likely keep the ring.

Courts may also address the engagement ring during the separation of property. Maryland is an equitable distribution state, which means that property is divided as equally as possible between the divorcing parties. In this process, every asset is either marital or non-marital property based on if it was bought during or before the marriage. Couples typically give an engagement ring before marriage. Though the giver buys it, they gift it to the receiver, so it is now the property of the receiver before marriage. In a divorce, the ring will likely stay with the receiver.

Of course, every situation is different, so to understand if who will get the engagement ring, you will likely need to talk with an attorney.