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I Need to File Bankruptcy But My Ex-Fiance Won't Give My Ring Back

Question: I need to file bankruptcy and I need to know whether I can get rid of the money that I owe for my ex-fiancé's wedding ring. I proposed marriage to my girlfriend and she accepted and I gave her a ring. I even told her I'd plan the wedding because she and her mother always want to control stuff and tell me how I should live my life.

I set her up with appointments at places like Bride Beautiful in Sandy Springs and Bridals by Lori for a wedding dress, and I contacted wedding venues like The Capital Grille in Buckhead, Chateau Élan Winery & Resort in Braselton, and the Atlanta National Golf Club in Milton. These seem like great places for a wedding. I just thought I could do it better than she could.

I bought the engagement ring after shopping for over two months all over Atlanta, Alpharetta and Sandy Springs. I wanted to surprise her. I know what looks good on her. I visited Solomon Brothers, D. Geller and Son and Shane Co. I spent over $30,000.00 on the ring. I financed the ring totally through the jeweler and didn't even make a down payment.

Now, however, she won't return the ring to me.

A couple of months after giving her the ring she told me that she ran into an old boyfriend from Kennesaw State University and Milton High School at the Perimeter Mall, where she worked. After she told me about the boyfriend she kind of suddenly moved out of our apartment in Dunwoody and she would not return my phone calls, texts or emails. I really don't know what happened to her. I actually saw her at a couple of Atlanta night spots. I saw her quickly at Vanquish on Peachtree Street and at White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails. But every time she saw me she ran out of the club looking horrified.

We had a lot in common. We both like to smoke cigars, we're huge Atlanta Braves fans, we're members of the Fernbank Museum of natural History and we love Mexican food. We would buy cigars at The Cigar Merchant in Roswell, we bought Chipper Jones jerseys, we used to drink martinis at Fernbank on Fridays and we always ate at Mr. Taco in Roswell. It was a really good relationship.

I went to her work a few times but she actually called the cops on me and now I have to deal with this temporary protective order. I just wanted to get the ring back. My sister told me she quit her job at the mall and may now work in sales in Alpharetta for her father's furniture company. My sister told me that she thinks I'm mentally unstable.

During all of this I lost my job in Johns Creek, my car got repossessed by Nalley and an old creditor is garnishing my wages for a personal loan. My accountant told me I have to file bankruptcy. I'm still paying off the wedding ring. What will happen to the ring in bankruptcy?

Now I have another job and the pay is really good (over $100,000.00) but I used to make even more money and I was spending a ton on cool stuff like my mountain house, a boat, jet skis and my car collection.

Answer: Thank you for the detailed question. Because of your high income it appears that you would file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, not a Chapter 7. Lenders holding a purchase money security interest in property purchased less than one year prepetition are entitled to either full payment of their claim or the collateral. So we would like to know when you purchased the ring so that we can determine if the one year time period is applicable or not.

If you are not able to surrender the collateral, in your case the engagement ring, then the debtor will probably seek full payment of the claim.

In other words, if you cannot give the ring back to the jeweler (or most likely the finance company to whom the jeweler assigned the retail installment contract and security agreement), you will need to pay for the ring through your Chapter 13 plan.

This is obviously a very difficult and emotional situation for you. You may wish to consider bringing a lawsuit against your former fiancé to retrieve the ring or for the value of the ring.

If you call us directly at 678-215-4106 we can discuss the situation in greater detail with you.

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