In Pennsylvania, an engagement ring is considered a “conditional gift” to the recipient of the ring, i.e. the person who was proposed to by another. A condition must be met for “completion” of the gift. The condition that must be met is not the engagement but rather the marriage itself. The general rule is that if the marriage occurs then the recipient of the engagement ring becomes the owner of the engagement ring; however, if the marriage does not occur then the engagement ring must be returned to the person who purchased the ring because that person is considered the legal owner of the engagement ring. There may be exceptions to this rule.
For instance, where both parties financially contributed to the purchase of the engagement ring. In that case, if the marriage does not occur, then both parties should be reimbursed proportionally to the amount of the funds they each contributed to the purchase of the engagement ring. In addition, it does not matter who ended the engagement or the reasons for why the engagement ended.
If the marriage does not happen, for whatever reason, the legal owner of the engagement ring is the party who purchased the engagement ring, and upon the engagement ending, that person is entitled to possession of the engagement ring. In other words, the engagement ring must be returned to the purchaser.
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