Sue for Engagement Ring Back?
Q: My boyfriend and I got engaged a month ago. We purchased his wedding ring and he also wanted an engagement ring for himself, and we purchased my wedding band and ordered my dress. I say "we," but it was I who put out all the down payments and payments for the items, with him saying, "You know I will pay you back." Now, not even a month later, he calls and says he needs some space and that things are going too fast. I suggested moving the wedding to a later date. He said he did not want to be engaged and that he needed time and has doubts. I am unemployed and a full-time student with unemployment benefits that have run out!
I wrote him to say I returned my ring and nothing was owed, and that I expected him to return the "engagement ring" on his finger and pay for my dress. He seems to think he should only pay for the two bands I bought him, but only if I return them to him! I live in Georgia, do I have a civil or small claims case against him that I could win? How much would this cost and do I need a lawyer to do this? The total I feel he owes me is almost $400. I do have a lawyer friend who could write a letter for me to send to this jerk. Any advice? -- Doris, 43
Dr. Susan: I can't give you legal advice for any state. In my own state, no lawyer is needed for a small claims court case, and the fees are pretty minimal to file. Just a hassle, but sometimes worth it. You do need a good case however. You might not be able to prove to a judge's satisfaction that he has to pay you for your dress. The thing I've learned about such courts is that you need a very clear case (contracts help), and that just because you're morally "right," doesn't mean you'll get money. Even if you win, that doesn't mean he'll pay. Possibly having a lawyer send him a letter would be helpful. I understand that this amount of money is a lot for you right now, and besides that, you're furious with him for getting you into this mess. Sometimes one has to decide to leave a situation at "lesson learned." Talk to your lawyer friend about whether your case is strong enough to pursue.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.