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What does the Alaska State Case Law or statuate say about ownership

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What does the Alaska State Case Law or statuate say about ownership of an Engagment ring if the couple should break up before a wedding takes place? And does it matter whom calls the wedding off?
Thanks so much for choosing this forum to pose your important legal question. I will do my best to give you some honest and accurate guidance as I answer your question.


  1. I am a licensed attorney with family law and civil litigation experience. I will be glad to try and answer your questions. I hope that the following information will be helpful to you, but please just write back if you have any follow-up questions or need clarification after reviewing the following information.
  2. Please allow me to say I am sorry for your circumstances and hope all is resolved to your satisfaction. The law varies on this point by jurisdiction. Here is how this works in Alaska. The transaction is viewed as a conditional gift, the condition being marriage. Since that did not happen, the engagement was unsuccessful in other words, the gift (ring) goes back to the donor (partner who proposed and actually bought/gave the ring). The issue of fault and/or which party actually called things off is not relevant in this respect. The law imposes an implied condition of actual marriage; just being engaged does not suffice to fulfill this requirement. A handful of states do view such a ring as an absolute outright gift, regardless of whether the marriage takes place or not, but that is a distinctively minority view not held by Alaskan jurisprudence.
  3. I hope that makes sense, but please do not hesitate to write back if needed. I shall be signing off soon to attend to some other professional obligations. Please rest assured, however, that I will be sure to check for any updated posts from you when I return to this online forum.


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The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created between you and Benjamin M. Burt, Jr., Esq. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.

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