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What Is a Breach of Promise?

Breach of promise involves an individual’s right to prosecute or make a claim against another individual who has reneged on a promise. As a former common tort law, breach of promise is similar to a breach of contract in that an individual is suing another for reneging on an agreement. This was commonly exercised in the event that a man reneges on his offer of marriage to a woman. However, some jurisdictions no longer consider this to be valid while other jurisdictions uphold this law.

When an individual withdraws from his or her engagement, the offended party may sue the former for damages or losses incurred from the breach of promise. The reasoning behind this former tort law is that the offended individual had already prepared to enter into a marriage and may have proceeded to arrange his or her affairs accordingly. Thus, the offended party is entitled to damages to recoup such losses.

For the jurisdictions that continue to uphold breach of promise, it has a certain set of conditions that must be fulfilled in order to determine the amount of damages it can award to the offended individual. Such conditions may also include who can sue for breach of promise in order to give precedence to those who were actually in a long relationship and were engaged to be married. However, not all jurisdictions have conditions that clarify what cases can be considered as breach of promise. Ergo, breach of promise suits presented in a court of law without clarifying guidelines or conditions can be numerous and ambiguous.

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