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BETROTHMENT. A contract between a man and a woman, by which they agree that
at a future, time they will marry together.
2. The requisites of this contract are 1. That it be reciprocal. 2. That the parties be able to contract.
3. The contract must be mutual; the Promise of the one must be the consideration for the promise of the other. It must be obligatory on both parties at the same instant, so that each may have an action upon it, or it will bind neither. 1 Salk. 24, Carth. 467; 5 Mod. 411; 1 Freem. 95; 3 Keb. 148; Co. Lit. 79 a, b.
4. The parties must be able to contract. if either be married at the time of betrothment, the contract is void; but the married party cannot take advantage of his own wrong, and set up a marriage or previous engagement, as an answer to the action for the breach of the contract, because this disability proceeds from the defendant's own act. Raym. 387 3 Just. 89; I Sid. 112 1 Bl. Com. 438.
5. The performance of this engagement or completion of the marriage, must be performed within a reasonable time. Either party may, therefore, call upon the other to fulfill the engagement, and in case of refusal or neglect to do so, within a reasonable time after request made, may treat the betrothment as at an end, and bring action for the breach of the contract. 2 C. & P. 631.
6. For a breach of the betrothment, without a just cause, an action on the case may be maintained for the recovery of damages. See Affiance; Promise of Marriage.