Rivkin v. Postal

No. M1999-01947-COA-R3-CV, 2001 Tenn. App. LEXIS 682 (Ct. App. Sep. 14, 2001)



A suit for breach of promise or contract to marry follows the procedures generally associated with other actions for breach of contract. Thus, a plaintiff has the burden of proving the existence of a contract, that is an offer of marriage and an acceptance, along with consideration, which need only be a return promise to marry. 


A married man began a relationship with his girlfriend. She knew that he was married with children. The parties began living together and the girlfriend became pregnant with the man's child. The man was the parties' sole source of support and he provided an exceptionally affluent lifestyle for the girlfriend and their child. The parties never discussed wedding plans. Though the man finally divorced his wife, he ended his relationship with the girlfriend. The man filed suit seeking a partition of property he jointly owned with the girlfriend and the return of his personal property that was still in her possession. The girlfriend responded with a counterclaim seeking damages for breach of promise to marry. The trial court awarded the girlfriend damages on her claim and divided the jointly-owned property. Both parties appealed.


Did the girlfriend present sufficient evidence of a promise to marry?




The court reversed in part and held that the trial court erred by awarding the girlfriend damages on her breach of promise claim and by awarding her the cedar chest that had belonged to the man's grandmother. Accordingly, the court reversed those portions of the judgment and remanded the case to the trial court for the entry of orders consistent with the opinion. 

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