Judge Rules Woman CAN Keep $10K Engagement Ring After Bad Breakup

engagement ring

When it comes to receiving a ring, the occasion and words expressed can have a lot more significance than just the obvious sentimental value--especially if a break up ensues.

A judge recently ruled that a Long Island, New York woman can keep the $10,000 diamond ring her former boyfriend gave her because--get this--he didn't propose.


Laws on who gets the bling once a relationship ends vary from state to state, but in this case the judge found that Debbie Lopez, 48, wasn't legally required to return the ring because it was "given as a gift and not in contemplation of marriage."

"When he gave it to me, he said it was a gift for being a great woman, a good mother of his child," Lopez told the New York Post.

Hmmm...he had their child present it to her in the middle of Rockefeller Center and she was wearing it on her left hand, sounds kind of like a proposal but, hey, what do I know?

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While many grooms struggle to find the perfect words to say when they present their beloved with a ring, it turns out they may want to skip the flowery verbiage and just get to the point.

Joseph Robert Torres, Lopez's ex, was "stunned" by the judge's decision because he thought he was engaged.

In some states, engagement rings are seen as conditional gifts that need to be returned to the giver should the condition not take place. It seems like this is what Torres was banking on, but because Lopez claims she didn't consider herself engaged, he's out of luck. In other states, a gift is a gift and doesn't need to be returned under any circumstances. 

Still, if you're the one who ends the relationship, would you feel compelled to return the ring? 

Late etiquette maven Letitia Baldrige weighed in on the subject several years ago, telling The New York Times the person who breaks the engagement is responsible for making good.

If the woman breaks it, she should send the ring back immediately. If it is the man, he should say, ‘Of course you keep the ring.’ 

I once knew a couple who'd moved in together and when they broke up and the woman left the apartment, she let her jilted boyfriend keep all the expensive furniture they'd bought together. In her guilt over leaving him and derailing the future they'd been planning, a leather couch and a mahogany bar seemed a bit like his consolation prizes. 

Even though Lopez did the dumping in this case, she doesn't seem to harbor any of those feelings of sympathy, but I'm sure there's more to her side of the story!

If you ended a relationship, would you feel compelled to return an expensive ring?

Image © Jamie Grill/Tetra Images/Corbis

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