August 2009 Newsletter



In a 1959 Massachusetts Supreme Court case, George DeCicco filed suit against E. Adele Barker seeking the return of six engagement rings he had given in contemplation of marriage.  One of those rings was a six carat diamond that George said he gave to Adele as an engagement ring, with the condition that they would be married, and that the other rings were gifts.
It is generally held that an engagement ring is a pledge, and it is given on the implied condition that the marriage takes place.  In the absence of an agreement between the parties to the contrary, the gift of an engagement ring is conditioned on the marriage taking place.  If the contract to marry is terminated, the general rule is the donor is entitled to get the ring back if the engagement is broken.  George prevailed, and Adele had to return the six carat diamond engagement ring.  However, Adele was able to keep the other rings, as they were "absolute gifts," not conditioned on marriage.


Recently, a Massachusetts district court judge extended a 209A restraining order on behalf of an unborn child.  In that case, the plaintiff was pregnant at the time she sought the original abuse protection order, and at the hearing to continue the order.  While the plaintiff requested that the order be modified to allow the father of the child to contact her regarding matters related to the pregnancy, the district court judge denied the request.  Recognizing the protective purpose of G.L. Chapter 209A, the judge concluded that there was no valid reason to deny protection simply because the child was not yet born.
The judge's reasoning appears to follow the "best interest of the child" standard utilized by Probate & Family Court judges.  The judge conceded in his decision that the state's judicial guidelines on abuse prevention proceedings provide that a plaintiff wishing to terminate an order is able to do so regardless of the reason or the presence of children.  However, the guidelines also direct a judge who is aware that a child in the household may have been harmed, to determine whether a report should be made to the Department of Children and Families to conduct an investigation.  It is clear from this decision that a 209A abuse prevention order may be extended over the objection of the mother who sought the order in the first place, in order to protect the safety of the unborn child.


Although we are in the middle of the "dog days" of summer, it is not too early to be thinking about the holidays and parenting/visitation time.  November and December will soon be upon us, and it is essential to insure that provisions have been made for important holiday occasions.  If a hearing on temporary orders has not occurred, or is not scheduled for some time, holidays should be addressed as soon as possible.  The courts prefer that you not wait until the last minute to address these important times.  Save yourself unnecessary worry, and plan ahead, so you do not have to seek such orders on an emergency basis. 
Issue: 9

scales of justice

In This Issue
The Wedding Is Off: Who Gets the Engagement Ring?
Extension of 209A Restraining Order on Behalf of Unborn Child
Holiday Visitation Reminder
Join Our Mailing List
Need a Speaker?
Questions?  Comments?
Feel free to visit our website or email the office.
If a Parent Receives SSI or SSDI, How Does That Effect Child Support Payments?

If anyone has a topic that would be of general interest, please do not hesitate to contact the office and let us know what items would be of general interest to the readers of this newsletter.
Susan C. Ryan, Esq.
Law Office of Susan Castleton Ryan, PC
(781) 982-8850

This newsletter is designed to keep you up-to-date with changes in the law.  For help with these or any other legal issues, please call our firm today.
The information in this newsletter is intended solely for your information .  It does not constitute legal advice, and it should not be relied on without a discussion of your specific situation with an attorney.