In 2002, the Montana Supreme Court considered ownership of engagement rings in the event an engagement is called off. Specifically, the court considered whether or not the female must return an engagement ring if the marriage does not occur.
In Albinger v. Harris, 2002 MT 118, the Montana Supreme Court held that an engagement ring is an unconditional, completed gift and should be treated as any other gift would under Montana law.
In order for an engagement ring to be considered a gift, all of the elements of gifting must be present. In other words, there must be a transfer of ownership from one party to the other. In Montana, gifting is complete upon delivery and gifts are not revocable – unless they are given in contemplation of death, but that is for another blog post.
The Supreme Court did say, however, that an action for fraud or deceit could be initiated if a party has acquired a ring under false pretenses.