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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Attorney
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I was engaged to someone from Missouri. I live in Wisconsin.

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I was engaged to someone from Missouri. I live in Wisconsin. The engagement was only for two months, I broke it off because we both were not emotionally ready for the commitment. She now wants me to pay for her bridal dress, veil, deposit for wedding venue, bridesmaid dresses, possible gift of honeymoon expenses purchased as a gift from her sister, and possible costs of flights for her siblings. The ring was purchased in Wisconsin, and she still has it. Under Missouri law, am I liable for these expenses? The minimum amount they expect me to pay is $1,100. The contracts they expect payment for were signed by bride and or her family in Missouri. What is my legal obligation under Missouri contract law?
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I look forward to assisting you today. I bring nearly 20 years of experience in various legal disciplines.

On the issue of the ring, it is really going to depend on where you gave her the ring and whether or not you can obtain jurisdiction over her in that state.

Missouri would allow her to keep the ring since you broke off the engagement. Wisconsin would require that the ring come back to you. If you gave her the ring in Missouri, that is actually where the gift took place. If in Wisconsin, then that is where the gift took place. Where the gift was given will play the greatest role in which state's law applies, regardless of where the claim is filed in court.

Now, on the issue of expenses, they can legally request a return of the expenses that they incurred, but only half would be a reasonable argument. Additionally, they would have to establish which expenses were not recoverable by them. For instance, her bridal dress is still her property. She, presumably, would get married some day and should be able to use that dress or obtain some funds from it. Payment in full is unreasonable. Deposits for the location, non-refundable tickets, DJ, etc. are more reasonable expenses that have to value now, because the date won't be used.

So, they'll have to do more than say there were "possible" expenses. You don't have to pay for a wedding that didn't happen. It is just reasonable to request a recoupment of losses that they can derive no benefit from.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The ring was given in Missouri (so I assume she has a right to the ring).


She wrote the details of expenses I am to pay in a letter. I'm assuming I should write a letter back, to have a written record of this. In a letter back, would you recommend I offer to split the expenses for the bridal gown/veil and wedding venue, which would be about $500. Then state in the letter that this is the end of all financial discussions about a wedding that never occurred. (Ending discussion of bridesmaid dresses, honeymoon gift, and sibling flights.).


Thank you.

If given in Missouri, then yes Missouri law would apply as that is where the gift took place. Where you bought the ring isn't really relevant. The issue is the gift and whether or not it is considered a "conditional gift" meaning that the gift had a condition of marriage on it, such that only marriage would complete the transfer. Since the issue is then, the gift, the location of the transfer is the law that would apply, which is Missouri and Missouri law would allow her to keep the ring.

You would certainly want some sort of statement from her, signed, that any payment from you ends the discussion of expenses. If you can walk away paying $500, that's really going to end up costing you much less than having to fly back to Missouri to deal with a small claims suit.

I think it is reasonable to offer her half.
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