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Former Bride-To-Be Won't Return Ring

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One Long Island judge forced a woman to return her engagement ring.

engagement ring

Even more classic than a Tiffany princess-cut 2.5-carat ring or a moonlit proposal atop the Eiffel Tower ... is the age-old dilemma of what happens to the engagement ring should the happy couple part ways.

Here's one way it can end: in court. That's where Long Island couple Danielle Cavalieri, 26, and John Gunther, 27, found themselves when they couldn't agree on how to properly handle their breakup. Cavalieri says that she is justified in keeping the $19,000 white-gold 2.2-carat ring because Gunther allegedly cheated on her.

The couple got engaged in March 2008 and was supposed to wed in October 2009. But they split, and Cavalieri promised that she would return the ring. When she later refused to give it back, Gunther took her to court. Cavalieri filed a counterclaim this past winter, saying she deserved the ring because Gunther allegedly had an affair. She also demanded $100,000 for "emotional stress."

But just last week, Justice F. Dana Winslow ruled that Cavalieri had to return the ring, due to New York State law -- which states that all jewelry given "in contemplation of marriage" should be returned to the giver, and that "fault in the breakup of an engagement is irrelevant."

But don't worry: Cavalieri's not drowning her sorrows in ice cream -- she's getting married to a new beau on Saturday.

Given that an engagement ring is bestowed with the intent of marriage, what do you think a jilted woman should do with it?


next: Couples Prone To Split After Pregnancy Loss
29 comments so far | Post a comment now
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LemonadeCricket April 14, 2011, 12:56 PM

If the giver bought the ring on their own, then the ring should be returned to them. An engagement ring is a “conditional” gift. The condition being that there will be a wedding. If the wedding does not happen, the condition of the gift has not been met and the ring should be returned.

If the couple bought the ring together, things could get sticky. What I would suggest, if neither can agree on who keeps the ring, is that it should be sold and the profit split.

For the record, my fiance had my ring custom designed and purchased it himself. As much as I love my ring and as devastated as I’d be if the wedding was called off, I’d return the ring to him.

I think it’s only right that such an expensive gift be returned to the giver. I don’t care what the circumstances are for breaking the engagement. The ring belongs to the giver until AFTER the wedding (when the conditions of the gift have been met). After the wedding, however, the ring belongs the wearer.


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