Who Keeps the Ring After Separation?

Separation from your spouse or fiancé(e) can be a very testy time in your life and you may have many questions during this time, including: who keeps the ring?

In British Columbia, according to the BC Family Law Act, the gift of an engagement ring is considered a conditional gift. This means that it is gifted with the expectation that you and your fiancé(e) will marry each other at some point. 

Before Marriage

However, if you separate before you end up getting married to each other, you fail to meet the condition, and the ring would have to be returned to the person who gifted it.

After Marriage

If you are already married when you separate, then the recipient of the ring would get to keep it. This is because having married, you will have met the condition associated with the gift of the engagement ring.


There may be exceptions, depending on your unique situation. In the past, there has been a case in BC where the recipient of the engagement ring was entitled to keep it despite the fact that the couple hadn’t been married yet, because she maintained that her then fiancé had given it to her as an absolute gift.

Another exception would be if the recipient had paid for their own engagement ring. In both of those cases, the recipient keeps the ring even though generally they would have to give it back as it is normally a conditional gift according to the BC Family Law Act.

As you may see, even the simple question of “Who keeps the ring?” can elicit quite a complicated answer.

If you or a loved one have separated from a relationship and require assistance in dividing your assets, consult Vancouver and Burnaby Family Law Lawyer Andrew Rebane at Resolutions Law Corporation, Burnaby, British Columbia at andrew@resolutionslawcorp.com or 778-372-7107