Can I get my engagement ring back in a Wisconsin court? Can I get my engagement ring back in a Wisconsin court? global $post;
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– from Paul A. in Wales, WI

Question Details:

I was dating a woman for several months when we decided to get engaged. I bought an expensive engagement ring with money I couldn’t really afford to spend to show my love for her. We remained engaged for several more months before she ended the engagement. I did not spend that money as a gift, but as an investment toward our future. She refuses to give the ring back. So the marriage is off, but can I get the ring back?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This situation is unfortunately pretty common in relationships. She feels that it was a gift, therefore, it should be hers whether or not she entered into the marriage. You feel it was an investment contingent upon a marriage.

The courts will rely on several factors when making a decision on this property division case. They may consider statutes, the conditional gift theory, and who ended the engagement, and whether it can be proven. For example, in the case of Brown v. Thomas 127 Wis. 2d 318, 379 N.W.2d 868 (Ct. App. 1985), a similar situation occurred and the fiancé sued for the return of an engagement ring. The court barred recovery of the ring based on the fact that the property was not obtained by fraud. The individual appealed and the decision was reversed. This is only an example though. Your case will be decided on its own merits.

My advice is to contact an attorney right away to discuss the details in full.

Dan Exner, J.D.Dan Exner J.D.
Family Law Attorney