The end of an engagement is always difficult, but in ideal circumstances, both parties would handle the split with grace and maturity. When you get engaged and get a ring and the wedding is called off before you get married, the decent thing to do is return the ring, right? We think most people would agree with us here. But, as we're sure you know, break-ups aren't always clean and handled well. Sometimes, the end of an engagement can get really messy and really ugly. So ugly, in fact, that a judge ends up having to decide the fate of the no-longer-engaged ring. This was the case for a former couple in New York. It's a tale as old as time: man and woman fall in love, man buys ridiculously expensive engagement ring, man proposes to woman, man and woman break up, and woman says finder keepers, losers weepers!
Rodney Ripley proposed to Jennifer Rutten in the Brooklyn Bridge back in 2011. He slipped quite the sparkler on her finger: a 3-carat cushion-cut diamond set in a Tacori ring. Sounds gorgeous! Well, the ring lasted far longer than the engagement. Ripley and Rutten broke up less than a year later, before they even made it down the aisle. As is customary, Ripley asked for the ring back. But Rutten wasn't giving it up without a fight.
So fight he did! After a five year legal battle, Ripley ended up suing his ex-fiance in Manhattan Supreme Court. Apparently Rutten tried her darndest to keep the ring, and her lawyers even argued that it was valued at far less than the $25,000 threshold for civil court action (they claimed it was only worth $13,000). Unfortunately for Rutten, Ripley kept receipts, which showed he paid a whopping $39,057 for the ring. Even more, he had it insured for $40,000. In addition to low-balling the value of the ring, Rutten tried to claim that although the couple got engaged in New York, she left shortly after the split and moved to Wisconsin, where the couple met. Her lawyers argued that Manhattan didn't even have jurisdiction over the case.
But her fight was pointless. New York state law says that a ring must be returned if no marriage occurred, regardless of the reasons for the break up. A judge granted Ripley's motion for summary judgement, and ordered Rutten to return the ring within 45 days or pay Ripley $39,057 to buy it for herself. Something tells us it's a really good thing this particular couple didn't make it down the aisle.