Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson and the $100,000 Ring

Ariana Grande is a 25-year-old American actress, singer, and songwriter of superstar status. She is well-known for her long, full pony tail. She began her career on Broadway in 2008 in the musical 13, and catapulted to television with her Nickelodeon series Victorious and then its spinoff Sam and Cat. She began her singing career with her soundtrack of her TV series Victorious. She is very involved in many charitable organizations from Black Lives Matter to March for Lives.

Pete Davidson is a 25-year-old American comedian and actor. He is currently a member of the cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. He was seven years old when his father died. His father was a New York firefighter and died fighting the World Trade Center fire on September 11, 2001. Davidson has said that his father’s death caused him to act out for many years, at one point pulling all of his hair out of his head. He suffers from Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory bowel disease) and uses medical marijuana to ease his pain.

In May of 2018, Grande and Peterson began dating. In June of 2018, Davidson presented Grande with a $100,000 engagement ring and asked her to marry him. She accepted his offer. (According to TMZ, “…[t]he ring -- a 3.03 carat diamond set in platinum -- was a one of a kind, made specifically for Grande, and took weeks to complete.”)

Sadly, the engagement did not end in matrimony. Just four months later, Grande called off their engagement, and ended their relationship.

Does that mean Grande has to return the ring to Peterson, or can she keep it?

Although both Peterson and Grande are New York residents, if this had happened in California, the state has codified law stating the status of an engagement ring when a marriage is called off.

The law was written in 1939 and states, “Where either party to a contemplated marriage in this State makes a gift of money or property to the other on the basis or assumption that the marriage will take place, in the event that the donee refuses to enter into the marriage as contemplated or that it is given up by mutual consent, the donor may recover such gift or such part of its value as may, under all of the circumstances of the case, be found by a court or jury to be just.” (California Civil Code Section 1590) (Italics added)

What this means is that if the donee (the one receiving the ring) ends the engagement, the ring returns to the donor (the one offering the ring). The same result applies if both the donor and the donee together decide to end the engagement.

What the law implies, however, is that if the donor ends the relationship, the done can keep the ring. The implication was followed by the courts beginning in 1950, and is still good law today.

In the case of Grande and Peterson, TMZ reports that Grande returned the Peterson. No legal action required.

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