Breach of Marriage Promise
Offer And Acceptance
Fundamental elements to the creation of a marriage contract are an offer and acceptance. It is not necessary that the offer be in formal language. The key requirement is that both parties comprehend that there was a clearly intended offer of marriage. A statement of the intention to marry to a third person, absent any other indicated intent, is not enough.
An acceptance of an offer to marry must be given within a reasonable period of time. Such acceptance need not be formal but may be implied from the promisee's behavior. For a marriage contract to be enforceable, there must be a showing that there has been a meeting of the minds of the individuals to the agreement. A promise to marry induced by duress is invalid. Similarly, a promise to marry made by fraudulent inducement—or fraudulent concealment of facts that would prevent the making of the agreement if revealed or disclosed—will render the promise invalid and relieve the innocent party from all liability.
A promise to marry must be based upon legal consideration. Generally, one individual's promise is adequate consideration for the promise of the other party. A promise to marry must not be based solely upon illegal or immoral consideration, such as sexual relations between the parties. A promise based upon legal consideration will not, however, be vitiated merely because unlawful sexual intercourse took place between the parties either prior to or following the promise.
If a promise to marry is conditional, liability for its breach will arise only following the performance or occurrence of the agreed condition.
A contract to marry may be manifested by many promises made at different times; however, there is only a single contract, and only a single breach can take place.
A contract to marry can be rescinded either by mutual consent of the parties or in instances of FRAUD or duress. The consent to postpone a marriage alone does not constitute a release of the obligation to perform it.
- Breach of Marriage Promise - Defenses
- Breach of Marriage Promise - Agreement To Marry
- Other Free Encyclopedias
Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Bill of Particulars to William Benson BryantBreach of Marriage Promise - Agreement To Marry, Offer And Acceptance, Defenses, Damages, Further Readings - Breach