Thanks to the ruling of a NY judge, a broken off engagement has resulted in one woman being able to keep her $53,000 engagement ring over the protests of her former fiancé, the NY Daily News reports.
In the headline-grabbing case, Louis Billittier Jr. sued his former fiancée, Christa Clark, for the 3-carat engagement ring she refused to return to him following the demise of their relationship in July 2012. According to court evidence, Billittier broke off his engagement with Clark via text message.
In most states, including New Jersey, engagement rings “given in contemplation of marriage” are not personal property of the recipient until marriage. In the event a couple breaks up before their wedding, it is generally accepted under the law that the fiance who gave the ring has the right to get it back. This was Billittier’s argument.
However, Clark claimed that the wording on the text exchange the two had that day showed that Billittier had made the ring an outright gift.
According to the Daily News:
He broke off their 14-month relationship in July 2012, leaving Clark incredulous.
“Your doing this through a text message????” she replied.
“Plus you get a $50,000 parting ring. Enough for a down payment on a house,” the 55-year old text back.
It was this final text that caught the judge’s attention, and despite Billittier’s objections that he didn’t mean what he said in the text, State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia last week ruled that the message served as enough evidence that Billittier had intended the ring as a gift after ending the engagement. Clark can now keep the ring, or sell it if she wishes, and keep the proceeds.
The lesson to be learned here? Be careful what you text!
If you are getting divorced and have questions about engagement rings and splitting up other jewelry and gifts, please read our blog: Bling it on: Why you shouldn’t fight over valuables — and how to avoid the battle.