If I broke my engagement and y mother-in-law-to-be bought me an unrefundable plane ticket for a surprise honeymoon, am I liable to pay her back for it?

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If I broke my engagement and y mother-in-law-to-be bought me an unrefundable plane ticket for a surprise honeymoon, am I liable to pay her back for it?

I did call off the wedding, not my fiance. Also, it was perhaps 10 days before the wedding was due to occur. Therefore, I understand that her mother had reason to believe that I would use the ticket. However, the honeymoon and ticket were planned and purchased on my behalf without my knowledge or consent. My ex-fiance and her mother are taking the trip, and she wants me to pay for the ticket she could not get refunded. She may want me to pay for other elements of the honeymoon with “my name on it” because it was an all-inclusive trip. I was never consulted on any of these purchases in my name.

Asked on May 23, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The ring as you know is in promise of marriage. You should be getting the engagement ring back. If you didn't get the ring back and she kept the ring, then I would say counter her demand with one of your own. See how that goes. Now, taking the ticket unilaterally into consideration, I can see this going two ways by a court of law. First, you would indicate this was a gift and not one in anticipation of marriage unlike an engagement ring because you were not planning on marrying your mother in law. It was the mother-in-law's gamble and she lost. The other is that it was given for a wedding gift and wedding gifts should be returned since no wedding occurred. Now, the fact she is taking the trip should offset this latter argument because she is the one using it. You cannot give it back and she would be in a better position if you gave her money for this ticket. Refuse and tell her since she is using the ticket, you in essence have given back the ticket.


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