Breaking Off That Engagement Could Cost You $50,000

Steep penalty after buying a ring but not marrying

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Be careful guys, buying a gal a diamond ring and then not tying the knot could come at a steep price.

A Georgia man who argued in court that his engagement was a form of prostitution must cough up $50,000 for cheating on his ex-fiance after she said he promised to marry her, a state court recently ruled. Christopher Ned Kelley had lived with his former fiancee Melissa Cooper for more than a decade, fathered her child, and given her a $10,000 ring, WOKV reports. Cooper quit her job to raise their child, thinking that Kelley would provide for his family. But when she found out Kelley had cheated on her for a second time, she kicked him out and sued him for fraud and for “breach of promise to marry.”

Kelley claimed in court that he never intended to marry Cooper — except for that part where he gave her a ring and a baby. “I never initiated the concept of marriage with her, outside of giving her that ring,” he said. “I never said the words ‘will you marry me’ to her.”

Instead, Kelley argued, their relationship was basically prostitution, since he paid for things and Cooper had sex with him.

The court didn’t buy the “she’s a prostitute,” defense, and ruled in Cooper’s favor on Nov. 22.

[WOKV]

5 comments
K69atie1
K69atie1

Breach of contract has always been accepted in such cases,certainly in the distant past but one rarely hears of it these days.

Best of luck to her.

Hibernia86
Hibernia86

While he sounds like a jerk, I don't know how he can be sued for a promise. If he wasn't legally married to her, then she doesn't have legal standing for his bank account. Just because he promised to get married doesn't mean he signed a legal document to get married. I think it is dangerous to have the courts deciding who should be considered married or not. Let the couple together decide that. While I feel bad for the woman, she should have insisted on a marriage earlier. Saying that she should be considered married when she wasn't shouldn't be legal.

ScottPowell
ScottPowell

@Hibernia86 Even without the "contract", there's the whole issue of "common law" marriage.  The concept that the state (and hence, the courts) "consider" a couple married if they have co-habited for a specified amount of time.  Not sure if Georgia is a "common law" state, but if so...I'm pretty sure that 10 years would be well above whatever specification they set.

Hibernia86
Hibernia86

@ScottPowell so if two male friends live together as roommates, would the state consider them married? And even if they were romantically involved, do they automatically get the married tax benefits (in a state with gay marriage) after a certain period of time or is it only in "divorce" that the issue of finances comes into play? I feel like marriage should be something that both partners consent to, not something you just sort of accidentally slide into after a certain amount of time.

MaryAnnKnollmanRodgers
MaryAnnKnollmanRodgers

Hibernia 86 you are correct, marriage is not something you just sort of accidentally slide into, but if the two live together, then guess what, then they sort of accidentally slid right into marriage.  If they didn't live together, then she wouldn't have had a leg to stand on.