When MMG ringleader Rick Ross and his former fiancée Lira Mercer ended their short-lived engagement earlier this month, their split followed the normal course of messy break up rhetoric common in high-profile celebrity relationships: information about someone’s past gets exposed, then the couple publicly denies any discourse between them and tells everyone not to believe “the rumors,” then a heated argument of some sort ensues between them a few weeks or months later, and then it’s not long before TMZ inevitably reports that their relationship is no more.
While news of the break up and the events that led up to the demise of the couple shocked very few, one detail that did raise a few eyebrows was the handling of the engagement ring given to Lira by Ross. Although initial speculation suggested that Lira had been able to keep the ring in her possession, it was soon revealed that Ross had actually retained ownership of it and even allegedly confirmed as much by flaunting the ring on his personal Snapchat account.
Classy, right? But, we digress.
While it would have certainly been believable to hear that Ross simply demanded that Lira return the ring to him in light of their breakup and she gave it back, there’s a little more to the story. Ross is actually legally entitled to receive the ring back under Georgia law, which deems an engagement ring “a gift in contemplation of marriage.” Similar laws are also enforced in several states throughout the U.S. and the Georgia variation is explained as follows, according to U.S. Attorney Mary Ann Aiello:
“A person may be entitled to the recovery of property given in contemplation of a marriage that does not take place, regardless of who is responsible for the failure of the marriage to go forward. Who is at fault over the break up is totally irrelevant to whether a party is entitled to the return of the engagement ring. However, if the party giving the ring knows that there exists an impediment to a lawful marriage (e.g. the party is still married), this may preclude recovery of the ring.”
On one hand, it seems a little excessive to have state law involved in determining such a personal matter and ultimately having the final say in who retains an engagement ring in the event that things don’t work out. Shouldn’t the issue of what happens to the ring be left for the two people in the relationship to hash out, free of any legal consequences, no matter what the outcome?
However, on the other hand, the aftermath of broken engagements can sometimes be as nearly as complicated as divorce proceedings, especially when it comes to celebrity relationships where a substantial amount of money was likely spent on the ring in question, so it could also be a good thing to be able to rely on the law to iron things out when the two people in the relationship can’t come to an agreement.
What are your thoughts on all of this, Clutchettes? Should the law be able to play a part in determining who gets to keep an engagement ring in the event of a break up? Or should it be left up to the two people in the relationship to handle without worrying about legal consequences — regardless of how ugly things might get?