My now ex-girlfriend who does not live with me, yet who has stayed here for several weeks at a time as she resides in another state, gave me a TV for Christmas and, now that the relationship has ended, wants to take it back. Also she took it upon herself to redecorate a bathroom, shower curtain, several towels, a sign and several knick-knacks which she also wants. Does she have a legal claim to these things?

  • 3
    Someone can't make you give back a gift. Proving it was a gift is another matter, though.
    – D M
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 22:48
  • FWIW, even if she had a property interest in personal property, if the property is retained without permission, the adverse possession statute of limitations for tangible personal property is often much shorter than for real property. In Colorado, adverse possession for real property is 18 years, while for tangible personal property it is 3 years.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 2:13

1 Answer 1


A gift creates a permanent transfer of title from the giver to the receiver. That is, a gift cannot be taken back. To be a gift there must be:

  1. Intention of donor to give the gift to the donee (donative intent)

  2. Delivery of gift to donee.

  3. Acceptance of gift by donee.

If, at the time of the gift(s) you and your ex were not living together then there should be no doubt that everything you mention would be a gift.

However, if you were living together then it is not clear that they are. If the TV were wrapped and given on Christmas with a card saying “To you, Love me” then it’s a gift. If it was bought for “our place” then it probably belongs to both of you. Similarly for the bathroom fittings.

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