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FindLaw Answers Answer of the Day: Breach of Promise to Marry

By Brian Kumnick on April 22, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
Today's featured answer comes from the FindLaw Answers Family Law board, where user DroppedOnMyHead wants to know if there is anything she can do to avenge herself upon her erstwhile fiance, like sue him for breach of a promise to marry:

I know that suits of this nature have generally fallen out of favor and off the books of many states, as simply calling off an engagement/wedding is no longer the social reputation breaker it once was - but how about when serious financial detriment has been caused to the woman by a man's repeated promises to support, be there to assist in all ways,  and to take care of the woman? When he insists that the woman must put herself in his hands - sell her home, move, give up her job to be with him, etc. - does a woman have any legal recourse in most/any states anymore?

This time, regular Family Law contributor Ted_From_Texas suggested that if anything can help, it'll be contract law:
Breach of promise to marry has been abolished as a cause of action in most if not all states.  As a practical matter, a scam is a scam, whether it involves marriage or money.  Unfortunately, a promise to do something does not by itself constitute a valid contract.  Your decisions regarding how to manage your affairs, however much you relied on his promises, were yours and yours alone to make.  Whether you can recover any part of the resulting damages now depends on whether any of your discussions with him can be construed as contractual in nature.  You really need to discuss this with a local attorney.  Good luck!

Hopefully DroppedOnMyHead is now off retaining counsel to try to recover some lost dollars.  In the meantime, you too can help by heading over to FindLaw Answers to show off your Greedy smarts and help point someone in the right legal direction.

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