Post # 1
We have been married for more than 3 years and before we got married, a chinese engagement or tinghun happened where the mother of the groom gave me expensive jewelries and watch as gifts/dowry. Now that my husband and i are planning to get an annulment, what should i do with the blings? Should i return them to his mom?
Post # 3
Hi – costiera: I see this is your first posting here on WBee… so a BIG Welcome to “the Hive”
I did a bit of GOOGLING for you… and didn’t find anything specific to answer your Question (but did come across this tidbit on Chinese Marriage & Divorce, Dowries & Annulments = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Nqogu/sandbox )
From my perspective, I think this is less of an Etiquette Question… and more of a Legal one.
So, honestly, you’ll probably have to consult a Lawyer (inside or outside of the Chinese Community, I guess is up to you… maybe 2 consults) … which is what most folks have to do when they are facing the prospect of Divorce.
A Lawyer will help you to answer any Questions you may have, and know and understand your Legal Rights.
As I said, I couldn’t find anything specific about Chinese Dowries or Bride Price… but from the tidbits I garnered from Wikipedia (and a few other sources) on Chinese Marriage (Wikipedia has several other entries on it as well). It looks like the Bride Price is a “custom / tradition” of giving GIFTS to the Bride and / or her family… so I would assume that if you are living in a Western Nation (USA – Canada etc) then Gifts are deemed to belong to whom they were given to.
Such as an Engagement Ring & Wedding Band are legally the property of a Bride once she is married (and you did say you’ve been married for 3 years)
But again, I am only guesstimating here… you really need to consult with a Lawyer
Post # 4
@This Time Round: Thanks for taking the time to answer. Did lots of googling too thats why i got here 🙂
Both of us are at fault, and this decision is mutual. He is not imposing i return those jewelries, he even said i should keep them.
I posted this question under Etiquette because what if we actually filed for annulment next year and he still insists that i keep the jewelries (aside from the wedding and engagement rings), that would be fine with me but i’ll still wonder whether i should return them to his mom because she technically bought and gave them to me, not my husband per se.
Post # 5
@costiera: Does his mother know about the annulment? What’s your relationship with her like? If you get on well, perhaps you should talk to her about your concerns. As it seems like there’s no animosity between you and your husband, perhaps she’ll be able to talk about it reasonably?
Post # 6
Do you WANT to keep anything? If not, I’d return it regardless of tradition and legalities. If you want to keep it, I agree with consulting a lawyer.
Post # 7
If she gave you something that was sentimental to her, then you should return it. If it was all new then it’s your choice.
Post # 8
@VioletSky: +1- I would consult his mother if you and her have a decent conversation.
Post # 9
@VioletSky: They’re all new
She knows that we decided to get an annulment after a year. She is convinced that we will eventually change our minds. Husband is now living with his mom.
Post # 10
Ladies, wouldn’t returning what someone gave you be offensive in any way? If i gave someone gifts, i wouldn’t want them returned…
Post # 11
@costiera: like @This Time Round: said, I don’t know if it’s as simple as whether it’ll offend her. It may not necessarily be something you have to return to your mother in law, but they would likely count as common property between you and your husband, and depending on where you live, HE may have claim to it. It’s the issues that come up when foreign tradition meets modern (US, I’m assuming) law. I would definitely consult a lawyer as to whether they’re considered a gift to you personally and need to be returned.