Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Marriage Brokerage Contract Definition:

A contract of introduction to unwed persons, payment due and payable upon marriage.

Related Terms: Marriage

Traditionally, marriage brokerage contracts are void as contrary to public policy.

These words were written by Justice Kafker of the Appeals Court of Massachusetts in Ureneck v Cui, quoting, in part, from Story's 1918 Commentaries on Equity Jurisprudence:

"Marriage brokerage contracts are defined as contracts to pay a third person for negotiating, procuring or bringing about a marriage.

"Such contracts have been condemned and declared unenforceable in American jurisprudence without exception or equivocation.

"In Massachusetts, although there are no decisions ruling on the question, the Supreme Judicial Court nonetheless has referred in dicta to marriage brokerage contracts as belonging in the category of contracts void as against public policy.

"The pernicious tendency of such contracts is so great that enforcement of them by the courts will be refused regardless of the propriety or expediency of the particular marriage.

"Marriage brokerage contracts, although not fraudulent on either party, are yet void, because they are a public mischief, as they have a tendency to cause matrimony to be contracted on mistaken principles. Despite inevitable changes in societal mores and the marriage brokerage business since (1918)..., there remains ample basis for concern regarding pernicious tendencies in the twenty-first century world of international matchmaking and marriage brokerage contracts out of which this case arises. These concerns have only been heightened as this business booms over the Internet....

"Dating or social referral services contracts that do not contain provisions for payment based on marriage are not marriage brokerage contracts."

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