Wedding Cancellation

The Dreaded Wedding Cancellation

The Law Prior to 2016

Prior to January 1, 2016, Illinois had a law called “breach of promise to marry.” This law allowed the rejected party to sue and recover money for the costs of the wedding that fell through. This law did not allow the abandoned party to recover for loss of reputation, pain and suffering, mental anguish and the like.

What about the engagement ring? This must be returned. There are no “ifs ands or buts,” the ring must be returned. The giving of the ring, initially, is premised on the theory that it becomes the property of the other party only after the wedding ceremony. There is a condition that must be satisfied in order to keep the ring, which is the wedding and saying “I do.” No wedding, no ring.

The New Law

Beginning on January 1, 2016, the Illinois legislature abolished the “breach of promise to marry” law. Illinois also no longer recognizes the “alienation of affections” tort, which allowed one spouse to sue the paramour of his/her spouse.

The Dreaded Wedding Cancellation

For the bride and groom to be, planning for the wedding is a blissfully, stressful experience. From picking flowers to narrowing down the guest list to everything in between, the details, and costs, associated with a wedding can cause one’s head to spin.

In the USA, there are approximately 2.3 million weddings each and every year, which averages to approximately 6,200 weddings each day! And the average cost of a wedding in 2015? A little over $20,000.00, with the average number of guests at close to 180. As is the case with most weddings, much of the costs and expenses are paid well in advance of the actual day. But what happens if the groom, or bride, gets cold feet and backs out of the wedding? What, if anything, can the bride to be expect to recover from the groom to be or vise versa? Many of us know of or have heard the horrible, gut wrenching stories of a wedding being called off literally days, or even hours, before the actual wedding day. “Oh the humanity!”

In one case, Buttitta v. Salerno, 2010 L 014003, the matter was filed in the Law Division of Cook County, Illinois. The bride to be, Buttitta, sued Salerno for “breach of promise to marry” and “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” She sought damages in excess of $95,000.00 for expenses related to the wedding, including the banquet hall, her dress, flowers, etc… Ultimately, however, after a fairly lengthy courtroom battle, the case settled. The terms of the agreement were not make public.

So, what do you do now if you are planning a wedding and are worried about getting left at the altar and getting stiffed financially? There are ways to protect yourself in the awful event your soon to be wife/husband wants to cancel the wedding.

Feel free to call Taradash Given, P.C. at (312) 775-1020 or click here if you have any family law or divorce questions. We represent people all over the greater Chicago land area.

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