Michigan law, at least, holds that a gift, such as a ring, given in contemplation of marriage must be returned to the donor should the marriage not end up happening.
Yes, however SOCIAL law states that you are at risk for female-blacklisting should your soon-to-be ex decide to spread the word that you had the nerve to ask for it back......
I think the lesson is for one to be as certain as humanly possible that the ring is necessary in the first place.....
Both are excellent points, Simon, and I agree completely. On the other hand, if I had given a ring to someone who dumped *ME* (because, really, you can't ever be 100% sure), I would damn well ask for the ring back, and I'd actually welcome the scorn of those women who thought I was wrong for asking for it back, because I could more easily identify them as "golddiggers to avoid."
Now, if *I*, on the other hand, broke it off, I'd pretty much not have the gall to ask for it back.
That the solons in Lansing decided to actually pass a law binding upon the people of the Great Lakes State suggests that such conduct was at one time widespread, or at the very least, problematic.
While I must say I agree it would be horribly offensive for a man to ask for his ring back if HE broke things off, one would hope that a woman who dumped her prospective groom would not add insult to injury.
I would never keep an engagement ring if the engagement itself went way south. Seems kind of ... bad karma or something.
It's not statute, Ben -- it's part of the common law. The idea is based upon contract principles, I believe, which makes sense given that marriage (in the secular sense, at least) is itself a contractual arrangement.