Maryland has equitable distribution laws in place for couples looking to divide assets in a divorce. But, the laws are not so straightforward when it comes to deciding who keeps the engagement ring in the event that the couple splits before marriage. Many men spend thousands of dollars on the perfect ring when it comes time to propose, so it would only seem fair that they would be able to keep it should the relationship go sour. While the ring went to the "innocent" person in the past, modern law has changed dramatically and property division is based on the situation.
The outcome depends on the situation as well as the state. For example, the ring may have been given as a gift, particularly if it was given on a birthday, Christmas, Valentine's Day or other holiday, and therefore should not be returned to the giver. There is also the fault approach, which means that the person who breaks off the engagement loses possession of the ring. In the no-fault situation, the ring is considered conditional and must be given back to the giver if the marriage does not occur. In many cases, the situation is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. In most cases, however, the no-fault approach is used.