Forfeiture of Marriage Law and Legal Definition

Forfeiture of Marriage was used to denote the name of a penalty that was incurred by a ward in chivalry, when s/he married contrary to the wishes of his/her guardian in chivalry. The guardian had an interest in controlling the marriage of the female wards and he could exact a price for the consent. Later,it became customary to sell the marriage of wards of both sexes.

When a male ward declined an equal match provided by his guardian, the ward was obliged to pay him the value of the marriage. This offer must be bona fide and sometimes it may be at the choice of the guardian or based on the assessment of the jury. Precisely, the value of the marriage must be determined after considering all the real and personal property of the ward.

When a male ward between the age of fourteen and twenty-one years, refused to accept an offer of an equal match from his guardian, and during that period the ward formed an alliance without guardian’s permission, the ward incurred forfeiture of marriage and may became liable to pay double the value of the marriage.

This term is obsolete and has no significance now.