Friday, October 10, 2008

Who keeps the ring?

With the economy tanking, people are worried about their homes, the stock market, the cost of food and gas, and . . . the question of who gets the engagement ring if the wedding is called off.

Disputes on that subject are rising, according to the NY Times. Sharon Bush, a former sister in law of the president, was recently engaged to a billionaire who gave her an 11-carat diamond ring that he bought for $243,000. The engagement was called off, and when she didn't return the ring, he sued. Ms. Bush's lawyer, Raoul Felder, argued that the ring was a gift, not an engagement ring. The case ended with a settlement agreement that he won't divulge, but she has since been seen wearing the ring.

In general, courts rule that the ring goes back to the buyer regardless of who broke off the engagement. They view the ring as the symbol of a contract that is now null and void. But etiquette expert Letitia Baldrige thinks that if the woman broke off the engagement, she should return the ring, and that if the man broke it off, he should say, 'Of course you keep the ring.' If it's a family heirloom, she agrees that it should be returned but advises that the man replace it with another piece of jewelry. Fat chance!!

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