As weddings become more elaborate and absurdly expensive affairs, it seems the practice of suing when an engagement is broken off is gaining popularity. That may be especially true when the couple consists of two lawyers.
Lauren Serafin has filed a lawsuit against her former fiancé Robert Leighton because he allegedly had sex with another woman during his bachelor party in Las Vegas, ABC News reports. The two both work at prominent law firms in Chicago, and Leighton is an associate at the office of Sidley Austin where Barack and Michelle Obama met, though his romance didn't have as happy an ending.
Weeks before their wedding, Serafin found a text message from a woman named Danielle on Leighton's phone that implied "something happened" in Vegas. First he denied that he cheated, then he said he just "made out" with Danielle, and finally he admitted that they "hooked up." Serafin's complaint says the two met "less than 24 hours prior to engaging in sexual intercourse."
Serafin says the incident left her humiliated and depressed, and now she wants $62,814 to reimburse her for the wedding. In legal papers she lists expenses including her gown, invitation, their honeymoon, and catering by the Chicago Ritz Carlton. He's refusing to pay, but she says he had a "fiduciary duty of implied fidelity."
Illinois is one of the few states that have "breach of promise" to marry laws, and the suit is similar to one filed in the fall by another Chicago woman whose fiancé "engaged in a lewd act" during the bachelor party.
The twist here is that Leighton blamed Serafin for his cheating before telling her that he wouldn't marry her. Karen Stewart, president and CEO of Fairway Divorce Solutions (who much like the doctors who "do not treat the star" has never met the couple), thinks Serafin is asking too much because the cheating was partly her fault. From ABC News:
"There has to be a division of compensation. Whatever the costs are they need to split them," says who is not involved in this case. If the allegations are true, "she should be thankful she found out now. It was probably a cheap lesson. Once a cheater, always a cheater."
Stewart goes on to say, "I'm not a believer in victims. She at some level attracted somebody of this personality —somebody who cheats — that's part of their core value system."
Her advice: Take half and "thank your lucky stars it cost you $30,000 because if you married him that would have cost you more," says Stewart.
Splitting the costs may be more fair because the wedding was for both of them and it's unclear who ultimately called off the engagement. (Did she want to work past the cheating, or did he just declare "I don't want to marry you anyway" after she dumped him?) But it seems too harsh to say she's equally to blame because she's just attracted to cheaters. Problems in a relationship can be one of the reasons someone cheats, but it's also possible Leighton was motivated more by friends feeding him shots and obnoxiously screaming "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!" every five minutes. Either way, he broke a promise to her, and refusing to pay for even half of their wedding expenses is unreasonable.
Image via Rob Byron/Shutterstock.