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Suits for broken engagements

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2017 | Family Law

A suit for a broken engagement may sound like a leftover from the “olden days,” however these suits are still plausible claims in a few states. Back in the day, women were entirely economically dependent on their future husbands. The prospective wife was expected to provide a dowry in exchange for the husband providing care for her. But, as with things are when they involve love, proposals end. Today, a broken engagement is met with a sad story and drinks with a friend, but before the modern era, many of these women could be left destitute. To provide protection for these women, the courts crafted the “breach of marriage promise” claim. This post will go over the breach of marriage promise and its applicability in modern courts.

Under the old law, scorned spouses could recover compensation. But, as women begin to earn equal pay with men and the recent legalization of same-sex marriage, many states have abolished the claim. Many lawmakers view it an anachronistic in the modern world. But, there are a few states that continue to permit this claim.

Most of the successful claims establish that one party made financial or emotional detrimental decisions based on the promise of marriage. For instance, if you leave a job to move with your future spouse to a new city, that could be grounds for compensation.

The most hotly contested issue after a broken engagement is who keeps the engagement ring. Funnily, this issue comes up so often that some states have passed “no fault” ring laws. Under the no-fault regime, the ring goes back to the person who gave it. But these are general guidelines and judges can ignore them, for example, if you end an engagement via text, the judge may look upon that poorly and award the ring to your ex-partner.

Are you dealing with the fallout from a collapsing marriage or broken engagement? If yes, you may want to contact a lawyer at your earliest convenience. As you can see, even if you do not plan to take any legal action, your ex-partner might. It is critical that you are prepared for both offensive and defensive family law issues. A lawyer can go over the situation and help you determine the best course of action.


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