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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
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State of Virginia. When I got engaged, my fiance didnt have

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State of Virginia. When I got engaged, my fiance didn't have the funds for a ring and asked me to put it on my credit card. He said he would make the payments until it was paid off (he did say this in front of mutual friends who would be willing to testify to this in court).

The day after we got married, he literally left and is now with another woman. Neither of us has filed for a divorce (it's only been a month).

My question is: can I sue him to reiburse me for the cost of the engagement ring. If so, do I file in general district court?
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your situation.

Here, ordinarily, you would not be able to sue him. However, you may have a case here due to the unusual circumstances.

Under Virginia's Section 8.01-220, spouses-to-be cannot sue each other civilly if the marriage falls through. In other words, one cannot sue the other for failure to marry. However, the case is more complicated here.

This was arguably a contract. He had promised to pay you back. Verbal contracts are just as enforceable as written contracts, but they are simply harder to prove. However, if you have witnesses, then this may be helpful. As such, you may be able to sue him in court for breach of contract.

To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state.

The essential elements of a cause of action for breach of contract are: (1) a legal obligation of a defendant to the plaintiff, (2) a violation or breach of that right or duty, and (3) a consequential injury or damage to the plaintiff. Brown v. Harms, 251 Va. 301, 306, 467 S.E.2d 805, 807 (Va. 1996).

The reason why I brought up Section 8.01-220 is because if you do pursue this, and he uses that section as an affirmative defense, someone in your situation may wish to "hammer" the idea that despite the whole underlining situation, the point is that he was SUPPOSED to repay you, and that repayment was a binding agreement whether or not the marriage went through. Then of course, it would be up to the Court.

My question is: can I sue him to reiburse me for the cost of the engagement ring.

See above - yes, one can attempt to do so.

If so, do I file in general district court?

If the amount is $5,000 or less, it would be small claims court - see here. Anything more would be District Court.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Best of luck.

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