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View Full Version : Who gets the ring.. Legally.



BearcatShane
12-28-2008, 11:12 PM
Alright, I dated a girl for 10 months, I bought her a ring, I got rid of her, she refuses to give the ring back, is the ring legally mine or what?

pahster
12-28-2008, 11:22 PM
It's probably hers. You gave it to her right? Don't see how it could possibly belong to you once you give it away. If you gave her a car/PS3/sandwich/whatever she wouldn't be required to return it to you. I don't see why a ring would be any different.

Edit: Snopes tells me that courts typically order engagement rings to be returned to the buyer. Take it for what it's worth.

Slyder
12-28-2008, 11:31 PM
Alright, I dated a girl for 10 months, I bought her a ring, I got rid of her, she refuses to give the ring back, is the ring legally mine or what?

It's hers, it would fall under gift in the law most likely.

BearcatShane
12-28-2008, 11:34 PM
Well.. it wasn't an engagement ring.. and I'm not going to explain the whole story.. but I didn't give it to her.. well I did but only on the condition that she would give it back a couple days later.. it's complicated.. but I want it back.

Slyder
12-28-2008, 11:48 PM
Youre going to have to check your state's specific laws, each states a bit different. I dont have that book handy now.

Caveat Emperor
12-28-2008, 11:58 PM
Well.. it wasn't an engagement ring.. and I'm not going to explain the whole story.. but I didn't give it to her.. well I did but only on the condition that she would give it back a couple days later.. it's complicated.. but I want it back.

The issue, if it wasn't an egnagement ring (Slyder's right -- with an engagement ring, the issue is sometimes subject to individual state law as opposed to common law gift and personal property law), will likely turn on whether or not you gave it to her with the proper "donative intent" -- i.e. if you, when you gave it to her, intended for her to have it as a gift.

What you're describing here sounds more like a bailment -- where you would retain interest in the property in question.

Bottom line, I'd consult with a lawyer if you really want to know or, better yet, talk to her. Tell her that you want the ring back and don't want to get lawyers involved and see if there is some kind of amicable arrangement that you can reach.

It might involve you paying her some nominal amount for the ring, but it's probably a fair sight better than calling a lawyer and paying to litigate the issue.

Sea Ray
12-29-2008, 12:14 AM
From what you describe my guess is the ring does belong to you but you're dealing with oral contracts and all. Ultimately it's up to a judge. I doubt you'll find a law that exactly describes your situation. If you really think it's yours then you'd better be prepared for small claims court. If it's worth the hassle to you, then go for it.

The Baumer
12-29-2008, 01:51 AM
Tell the story, man!

:)

Chip R
12-29-2008, 02:03 AM
Not that I'm unsympathetic but did she give you anything of value? If she did, do you feel you should return that since you believe she should return the ring?

It might be worth whatever you paid for the ring just to have her out of your life for good.

Ltlabner
12-29-2008, 07:44 AM
It might be worth whatever you paid for the ring just to have her out of your life for good.

No kidding. My first thought was that if this chick was such a pain, get the heck away from her and chalk it up to experience. The cost of the ring might be well worth it to avoid the drama.

Unless, of corse, the ring is just a convenient pretext to stay involved in the scene.

919191
12-29-2008, 08:47 AM
You could hire some big guys with guns and take it back...just don't get caught like this guy did.

http://www.nndb.com/people/390/000022324/oj-simpson-mshot.jpg

westofyou
12-29-2008, 10:05 AM
Be a mensch, let her have it and walk away.

wheels
12-29-2008, 10:09 AM
Be a mensch, let her have it and walk away.

That's what I did.

Then I found out years later that she sold it for drugs.

Boy, am I glad I didn't marry that girl.

SunDeck
12-29-2008, 10:56 AM
That's what I did.

Then I found out years later that she sold it for drugs.

Boy, am I glad I didn't marry that girl.

Wheels 1, ex-girlfriend 5-10.

My advice is to let the ring go; there is no such thing as loaning a ring to a girlfriend.

RedsBaron
12-29-2008, 11:01 AM
Be a mensch, let her have it and walk away.

Bingo. Life is too short. You would have a questionable case at best, and it isn't worth it. Forget the ring, and her.

15fan
12-29-2008, 01:44 PM
Did the ring have any magic powers like the Green Lantern's ring? Did Tolkein write a trilogy about it?

If the answer is "no" to the above, then let it go and chalk it up as part of the cost of doing business.

gonelong
12-29-2008, 02:11 PM
Unless the ring has great value, either monetarily or as a family heirloom, I'd recommend letting it go.

Dom Heffner
12-29-2008, 03:19 PM
In Florida, the engagement ring belongs to the giver until the marriage takes place.

The value of the ring would determine whether or not this is worth it.

But truthfully- a used ring is not worth much, so it better be a heck of a ring to be worth going after.

I'd leave principle behind if it isn't worth your time.

Redsfaithful
12-29-2008, 04:56 PM
Move on and consider it a lesson learned.

The Baumer
12-29-2008, 08:23 PM
I will echo what everyone before me has said and say you should tell the story.

Red in Chicago
12-29-2008, 08:55 PM
Am I wrong on this, or do women ALWAYS want to keep the ring?

Caveat Emperor
12-29-2008, 08:57 PM
Am I wrong on this, or do women ALWAYS want to keep the ring?

It makes them feel liked.

This was established in the landmark case of Doe v. Knowles, where the court explicitly stated that the man in question (John Doe) should have shown that he "liked the plaintiff, Ms. Knowles, by putting a ring on [her]."

WVRed
12-29-2008, 09:39 PM
I took Business Law this semester at college, and this was one of the case studies. A guy bought an engagement ring and eventually called off the engagement and he asked for the ring back. She refused and he took her to court.

Some states follow a fault rule:

Groom breaks it off, she keeps the ring.

Bride breaks it off, groom gets the ring back.

Other states follow the objective rule, in which the bride must return the ring regardless.

Here is how the case turned out:

http://www.macelree.com/resources/home_proposals.html


A Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision says that engagement rings are given conditionally, and must be returned in lieu of a marriage event

Today, engagement rings can run from hundreds of dollars to a hundred thousand dollars. So, when an engaged couple fails to make it down the aisle, which party keeps the ring? A landmark Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling has decreed that an engagement ring is a gift "conditioned" on the marriage event. Hence, if the marriage is cancelled by either party, the ring must be returned to the purchaser.

The Case
The case that set the precedent in Pennsylvania was Lindh v. Surman. In August of 1993, Rodger Lindh, a divorced middle–aged man, proposed to Janis Surman, a younger woman who had never been married. Rodger presented Janis with a diamond engagement ring that he purchased for $17,400. Rodger indicated that the actual value of the ring was $21,200 and that he got a special deal because he was a "good customer," having bought his ex–wife's ring and various pieces of jewelry for his children from the jeweler.

When problems arose between the couple later that year, Rodger broke off the engagement and asked Janis to return the ring. Janis obliged. Later, the two reconciled and Rodger proposed again, giving back to Janis the same ring. For a second time, Janis accepted. In March of 1994, however, Rodger called off the engagement again and demanded the return of the ring. This time Janis refused, and litigation ensued.

Arbitration and Lower Court Rulings
In the litigation, a panel of arbitrators ruled that Janis could keep the ring. A judge of the Court of Common Pleas held otherwise, awarding Rodger a judgment of $21,200. The Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the Trial Court's decision.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Ruling
In arguing the case before the Supreme Court, the parties agreed that the engagement ring was a conditional gift. However, they disagreed on two points: (1) what was the condition of the gift (acceptance of the engagement or the marriage itself); and (2) whether fault was relevant to determining the return of the ring. Ultimately, the Supreme Court held for Rodger on both points.

The court found that the gift was conditioned on the actual marriage, not just acceptance of the engagement. The Supreme Court further determined that a fault analysis (a determination of who was responsible for breaking off the engagement) was not appropriate. Pennsylvania, like most states, has adopted a "no fault" system in divorce cases (a divorce can be obtained without proving fault by either party). The Court indicated that such a "no fault" system would be appropriate in an engagement ring case because of the difficulty of determining who was "wrong" or "right" in the breakup of the engagement. To determine who was at "fault" would require a detailed inquiry into the facts surrounding the demise of the relationship.

Rather than burdening the lower courts with such unpleasant disputes, the Supreme Court adopted a "no fault" system in which the husband–to–be is entitled to return of the ring even if he breaks off the engagement. Therefore, in this case, Janis was forced to either return the ring or pay Rodger $21,200

It depends on the state, but if I were you, unless it was a family heirloom that had sentimental value, I would let it go and move on.

Caseyfan21
12-29-2008, 09:39 PM
It makes them feel liked.

This was established in the landmark case of Doe v. Knowles, where the court explicitly stated that the man in question (John Doe) should have shown that he "liked the plaintiff, Ms. Knowles, by putting a ring on [her]."

:laugh::laugh:

camisadelgolf
12-30-2008, 02:25 AM
Legally, I have no clue, but the custom usually goes as follows:
If you broke up with her, she gets to keep everything you gave her. If she broke up with you, then she has to give the gifts back.

If this is the custom she's trying to stick to, my best advice is to get back with her and be such a terrible boyfriend that she has no choice but to dump you.

Bip Roberts
12-30-2008, 02:37 AM
Its hers from all the stories I have heard.

Jpup
12-30-2008, 05:53 AM
I got mine back from my ex. I tried to sell it for about a year, but no luck. I still have it for sale.

I just wanted it back because she broke it off.

I couldn't be happier about it now.

Sea Ray
12-30-2008, 09:57 AM
Understand that all this talk of engagement ring cases are fine and dandy but they don't apply here. He clearly stated that this was not an egagement ring:



Well.. it wasn't an engagement ring...


...so issues like who broke off the relationship have no bearing here.

Heath
12-30-2008, 10:39 AM
Short-term, the ring could be used for money that could be needed.

Long-term, it could be a mental picture you will be flashbacking on for years to come to the point where it will drive you bananas.

To edit a quote from the famous British philosopher, Sir Paul McCartney - Just Live and Let (it) Die

Roy Tucker
12-30-2008, 11:53 AM
In past relationships I've been in, I've given gifts that were of more-than-a-little value, some getting up in the many $100's of dollars. But I can't say I ever wanted anything back.

At the time of the giving, it was done in great sincerity and (possible) love. I'd give it a lot of thought to make sure it was a gift that I thought that person would like, i.e. it was customized for them and not me. I never expected it to come back nor did I really want it back if the relationship died.

If it were an engagement ring (which its not), I can see the expectation of getting it returned. But otherwise, it's a gift like you give to friends, family, lovers, etc etc. Expecting it back because the relationship went south off isn't part of the game IMO. Getting pissy about it can only make everyone look bad.

Yachtzee
12-30-2008, 09:27 PM
Understand that all this talk of engagement ring cases are fine and dandy but they don't apply here. He clearly stated that this was not an egagement ring:





...so issues like who broke off the relationship have no bearing here.

While it may not involve an engagement ring, some states might look to those cases by analogy because it involves some sort of ring given by a man to a woman with whom he was in a relationship. Aside from that, I think Caveat's earlier answer is probably most correct. If the ring was given without the proper donative intent, then it is most likely considered a bailment and she has to give it back. Of course, from the practical perspective, it's only worth pursuing if 1) the ring is of substantial value to justify the cost of litigating the matter; or 2) the ring bears so much sentimental value (e.g. family heirloom) that it outweighs the costs of bringing a lawsuit.

RBA
12-30-2008, 09:38 PM
I think Judge Judy always rules that it's a gift and you the receiver gets to keep it.

Ltlabner
12-30-2008, 10:14 PM
Funny the emotional or symbolic attachment people have to rings.

If you give your girlfriend/finance a really nice DVD player for Christmas and you breakup a month later very few people loose sleep over "who gets the DVD player".

BCubb2003
12-30-2008, 11:10 PM
Unless of course it was a World Series ring, circa '90, '76 or '75.

RFS62
12-31-2008, 07:58 AM
In past relationships I've been in, I've given gifts that were of more-than-a-little value, some getting up in the many $100's of dollars. But I can't say I ever wanted anything back.

At the time of the giving, it was done in great sincerity and (possible) love. I'd give it a lot of thought to make sure it was a gift that I thought that person would like, i.e. it was customized for them and not me. I never expected it to come back nor did I really want it back if the relationship died.

If it were an engagement ring (which its not), I can see the expectation of getting it returned. But otherwise, it's a gift like you give to friends, family, lovers, etc etc. Expecting it back because the relationship went south off isn't part of the game IMO. Getting pissy about it can only make everyone look bad.



Exactly.