The general rule is that you get the ring back. You case has a twist because she paid for part of it. However, you certainly are entitled to what you paid.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
Promises made in consideration of marriage are covered under the Statute of Frauds and thus generally require a writing in order to become enforceable.if you want to guarantee the return of the ring, you need to satisfy the Statute of Frauds.
This situation certainly could have been prevented if you had executed a written prenuptial agreement. It would be a good idea to keep that in mind for next time.
You may have a cause of action for unjust enrichment in the amount of $5,200 or you can sue for return of the ring minus her costs incurred. Neither option guarantees victory.
Her defense will probably be that you gave it to her as a gift.
Either way, whether with this firm or another firm, you would be well-served to discuss your dilemma with a New York domestic relations attorney in a confidential forum as soon as possible. Good luck!
Consult with a local lawyer - she doesn't get to keep the ring. I agree that it is more complicated because she contributed to the purchase but maybe she will respond if you get a lawyer involved.
Under New-York state law the woman must return the ring is she breaks of the engagement.. I was a Small Claims Court arbitrator in Buffalo for years and I handled these cases as a judge and a lawyer and your best course of action is to retain an attorney to sue for the balance of the money and let her keep the ring. You will usually need a lawyer to not only try the case but collect the money. My Buffalo office handles there matters. Sometimes we are able to get a settlement with just a letter if she lives locally.
John J. Carney Esq. 917 696 2363