Breach of Promise to Marry

Dear Atty. Duran-Schulze,

My fiance and I were supposed to get married, but she had cold feet on the day of the wedding. I intend to get back the material things I provided for her such as the ring, the money for the catering, the venue and the reception, the wedding planner and the money for her dress. 

To add to that, I am emotionally hurt as she decided to lie to me and my friends that she needed space only to know that she purposely cheated with one of my groomsmen. I got publicly humiliated in front of my family and our colleagues since she just ran away after she promised to marry me. Can I ask for legal compensation under the law? 


Dear Renzo, 

As stated in the case of Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals, a case of mere breach of promise to marry is not an actionable wrong. 

However, Wassmer v. Velez explains that the extent to which acts not contrary to law may be perpetrated with impunity, is not limitless because Article 21 of New Civil Code (NCC) provides that:

 “any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.

Instances where the award of damages under Article 21 of the NCC is justified:

    1. Where the wedding is formally set, paid, prepared and publicly announced only to walk out exactly from the moment the ceremony is about to commence, is quite different. This is palpably and unjustifiably contrary to good customs for which the defendant must be held answerable in damages in accordance with Article 21. (Wassmer v. Velez, G.R. No. L-20089, December 26, 1964).
    2. Where a man promises a woman to marry in return for sexual congress is proof that he had, in reality, no intention of marrying her and that the promise was only a subtle scheme or deceptive device to entice or inveigle her to accept him and to obtain her consent to the sexual act. This justifies the award of damages under Article 21 of the NCC (Baksh v. CA, G.R. No. 97336 February 19, 1993).

      Mere sexual relations between two unmarried and consenting adults, however, are not enough to warrant administrative sanction for illicit behavior. Consensual sexual relations are incompatible with the idea of seduction and thus do not fall within the purview of awarding damaged under Article 21.
    3. The acts or petitioner in forcibly abducting private respondent and having carnal knowledge with her against her will, and thereafter promising to marry her in order to escape criminal liability, only to thereafter renege on such promise after cohabiting with her for twenty-one days, irremissible constitutes acts contrary to morals and good customs.

      These are grossly insensate and reprehensible transgressions which indisputably warrant and abundantly justify the award of moral and exemplary damages, pursuant to Article 21, in relation to paragraphs 3 and 10, Article 2219, and Articles 2229 and 2234 of the Civil Code. (Bunag v. CA, G.R. No. 101749 July 10, 1992).


Article 21 of the NCC may go hand in hand with paragraph 10 of said Article 2219, any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for moral damages. 

According to the case of Bunag, Article 21 was adopted to remedy the countless gaps in the statutes which leave so many victims of moral wrongs helpless even though they have actually suffered material and moral injury, and is intended to vouchsafe adequate legal remedy for that untold number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to specifically provide for in the statutes

Need further information and assistance?  Talk to our Legal team at Duran & Duran-Schulze Law. Call us today at (+632) 8478 5826 or send an email to for more information.

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