Colette Dipierro v. Christopher Reinhold on how to get your engagement ring back after a breakup

Colette and Christopher are still at it, fighting over the $17,500 engagement ring which we discussed here. We couldn’t make up our mind whether the condition of marriage was a condition subsequent or a condition precedent. Case law has said that it is a condition subsequent. So I guess we will go with that….
Anyways. How can Christopher get his engagement ring back? He would have to bring a replevin action against Colette. Very simple. It’s based in contract theory. The failed engagement means the contract has been rescinded and by failing to return the ring, Colette has property that is wrongfully being taken from Christopher….
As we noted in the above linked post, the engagement ring is a conditional gift. Title to it does not vest in the donee until marriage (the condition subsequent) occurs. If marriage never occurs, i.e., the engagement is broken, title remains with the donor or the giver of the ring. Only upon marriage would Colette be able to claim the ring as her separate property. But case law is different on this. In some states, even after marriage the ring may still remain a joint asset of the spouses.
Did you know that Colette has a blog? She does. I think it is And this is a picture of the ring . It’s absolutely gorgeous, I must say. Colette tries to explain her position as to why she feels the ring is hers. I learned something I didn’t know. He proposed on her birthday. THAT WAS A BIG MISTAKE! In proposing on her birthday, Colette can argue that Christopher really gave her an outright gift, not a conditional gift. Ultimately, I think her argument will fail, but it’s worth the shot that a judge will agree that this was her birthday gift, not an engagement ring which is a conditional gift. Plus, she paints the picture of a guy who owes her a ton of cash and so she is saying, you pay me my money, I give you back the ring. The thing with these so called loans, it is going to be her burden to show that he ever promised to repay, and that what she gave him were not likewise gifts.
In other words, in relationships, it’s give and take. Without a written agreement that he was going to repay her for these items she discusses on her blog, I don’t know if she can successfully argue that he gets the ring back if he pays her for her stuff. But definitely, when you factor in the fact that he gave her the ring on her birthday, this is problematic for him. A good lawyer can show that the gift was a birthday gift, not necessarily an engagement ring.
Interesting case. Can’t wait to see how it plays out.