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'Future MIL ruined my wedding dress by attempting to try it on. Can I take her to court?' BIG UPDATES

'Future MIL ruined my wedding dress by attempting to try it on. Can I take her to court?' BIG UPDATES


"My future mother in law ruined by wedding dress by attempting to try it on. It's beyond repair. Can I take her to court?"

I'm located in Virginia. I purchased a wedding gown that cost me over $11k, then paid substantially more in alterations. Over the weekend, my future mother in law decided to attempt to put on my dress and failed horribly. Long story short, it's beyond repair and completely ruined. I also have reason to believe that she caused deliberate damage to the dress because of certain areas that were torn.

My fiance doesn't believe that we're able to take her to court and recoop the money because "it's just a dress" and he thinks the cost of the dress doesn't meet some financial threshold to sue her. I want to know if that's true and if it would be feasible to file a police report on her because of the more deliberate damage. I know it's just "a dress" but this goes beyond the dress.

Commenters weighed in with advice and suggestions.

beaglemama said:

If you used a credit card to pay for the dress, it might be covered under some kind of damage protection that can help you.

godrestsinreason said:

Your fiance is incorrect -- you can absolutely sue her for the value of the dress + alterations, if you can document that the dress is beyond repair. However, this is not taking into consideration the r/relationships aspect of the issue, so you'll really want to take this there and get some more practical advice, and how it's going to affect your relationship with your future husband.

kennedyz said:

Steps: 1.) Get a lawyer. 2.) File a police report. 3.) File a lawsuit with lawyer. 4.) Tell Fiance to make a choice.

This is the hill you want to die on.

And derspiny said:

Your fiance is incorrect, although I can somewhat understand why he might not be excited about the prospect of his wife suing his mother. There are relationship aspects here you'll want to tread carefully on, but ultimately if someone damages your property through intentional or negligent actions, even if they didn't expect to damage your property, you're entitled to being made whole.

Personally, if your fiance doesn't back you on this, I'd be thinking hard about whether you can trust him on other issues, too. $11k is well out of Virginia's small claims jurisdiction (where the maximum claim is $5,000), so if the fair market value of your dress really is that high, you'll want to speak to an attorney.

Criminal charges are somewhat less than likely unless she broke into your home or something in the process, but you can try your luck with a police report if you like.

Weeks later, OP shared an update on the situation, and it's a big one:

Hey everyone...first of all, thank you for all of your sweet comments and support. I'm sorry that I haven't kept everyone in the loop, but the last several weeks have truly been...trying, to say the least.

First things first, the wedding is off. We are still together and remain engaged, but things are very, very, strained between us. The only thing that has really stopped me from leaving this relationship is that I love him from the bottom of my heart, and I can see how much this is hurting him. I really want to work past this if we can. We're both committing to seeing a couple's therapist.

After FMIL ruined my dress, my fiance confronted her by telephone and demanded that she help cover the damages to the dress. She refused because she said it was an "accident" and she really was "just trying to help".

She literally tried to spin this as her HELPING ME by, and I quote, "giving me a standard to aspire to" and she also admitted that she just wanted to feel as "young and beautiful" as me. The worst part is that he believed her bullsh!t. At this point, after she refused to pay, I started pitching a fit until fiance said that we shouldn't jump to conclusions on the damages until we visited the seamstress.

Fine by me. We went together and the assessment was that it is completely trashed. It is beyond repair. The beading in some parts is absolutely destroyed. The sheer back of the dress was torn to shreds (from her disgusting fake nails). She also ripped the tulle on my train, and the seams were split so badly and she'd torn through other parts of the dress to the point where they were beyond repair.

Hearing how badly my dress was mutilated crushed me, but my fiance's reaction at the seamstress's enraged me. He kept minimizing the damage, pointing out how certain things "absolutely could have" been an accident, and he lied out of his ass to the seamstress to tell her that the dress had "an accident" when his mother attempted to "relive her model days".

I corrected course and said no, that she tried to put it on without my permission knowing damn well that she didn't fit into it, and deliberately destroyed parts of it in the process. The real fun started when we got home and I told him that if she didn't pay, then I wanted to sue her for damages to the dress.

He told me some bullsh!t about how the cost of the dress didn't meet the thresholds for a lawsuit. Okay. I took my butt straight to the internet, posted to the LegalAdvice subreddit, AND googled the thresholds for small claims court in Virginia before printing all of the responses I got and forcing him to read them. He conceded that she owed us something and called her, with me sitting there.

As I sat there, he argued with her for all of five minutes before she broke down sobbing, accused him of not loving her, called me trash for turning him against her, and how could money be more important than her love for him. HE ACTUALLY SOOTHED HER and told her that "he understood" but I'm being super emotional over the dress and this would help it blow over.

She started babbling and sobbing and he said that he'd "talk to me". After they hung up, he had the nerve to turn to me and say that all he wanted was peace and to please just let him pay for the dress and let this go away. I lost it. I screamed at him. I cried harder than I probably ever have cried because I honestly feel that he took her side over mine.

\ told him that it wasn't about the dress and that if he genuinely believed that this was over an "overpriced" dress at this point, then we needed to cancel the wedding and he and his mommy could have a nice vacation to Colombia without me. We argued, and, like he's been doing, told me that he saw my point. I told him that I didn't want her at the wedding. Shockingly...he agreed.

I sat next to him the next day when he called her and told her that because of what happened, we couldn't have her at the wedding. I actually felt proud when he hung up on her after she screamed and and sobbed about how "He can't do this". I began to consider that maybe I was wrong about how he refused to stand up to his mother.

That is, until I was on our shared iPad. I rarely use the iPad because I'm way happier with my Kindle but I'll reach for the iPad in the rare event that my Kindle is out of juice and my phone is out of reach. While I was using it, what pops up but messages from FMIL...asking about the best way to purchase discounted flights to Colombia.

I scrolled through the messages, and he had folded the very next day, saying that he had disinvited her for my sake but he still wanted her at the wedding. That he'd slowly work on changing my mind, and hopefully on the weekend of the wedding I'd be feeling forgiving and welcome her and if not, I could deal with it.

I lost my mind. I actually packed my bags. He was the one that ended up leaving to stay with his friend while I stayed in the house. The fight wasn't pretty.

And that's about where we're at right now. We have both committed to couple's counseling. It's a must. I feel played right now. And that's what he was trying to do; play both sides. We both agreed that the best thing to do for us is to postpone the wedding until trust is reestablished, deposits be damned. And if anyone asks? I tell them the entire story. FMIL has decided to come between us in the worst way.

FMIL, for the most part, is fuming and trying to spin this into me being a trashy, greedy harpy that's determined to bring her and her precious baby nothing but misery. She's tried to come to our house several times to "collect her baby and his belongings", but I haven't answered the door.

Fiance, to his credit, has blocked her on his phone and hasn't told her where he's living right now. He's gone no contact and has agreed to no contact until we begin therapy. He's turned over all of his passwords and the iPad so I can check his messages when I want to (and trust me, I'm checking).

I love him. I want to be able to go the distance with him, but while FMIL is in the picture I just don't think I can. FFS, I'm looking through his email accounts and messages for contact from his mother. I can't even begin to explain just how messed up that is. Sorry for the long post...please wish us luck in therapy. I'm having a hard time keeping my hopes up. This has been the worst month.

Unfortunately for OP, the situation escalated. She shared this second, dramatic update:

This has been the cherry to top off a not so fabulous week. To everyone that SO bashed my husband, PM'd me to tell me how weak/pathetic I am/tell me I'm stupid... Trust me. You think I don't get how this looks to other people? He isn't getting away with anything. I know seeking help and counseling looks stupid to other people, but it's my relationship. Please respect that.

There's several new things to report. One being that my fiance has kept his end of the bargain; he's had no contact with FMIL. How do I know? I'm religiously checking his accounts...and she's also losing her mind. This week, I've woken up to the following:

- My Ring app has gone off four times, all at odd hours of the night. It's her. I have footage of her shoving notes under my door.

- Nasty notes shoved under the door demanding to talk to my fiance/accusing me of driving a wedge between them.

- Text messages asking me why I'm forbidding contact between fiance and his mother and how unnatural it is to stop a son from seeing his mother. I'm going to burn in hell and am a disgrace to womanhood.

- She's come to my work. When I refused to see her, security escorted her out. When I pulled out of the parking garage, I saw her waiting by the employee entrance.

- Fiance and I typically go shopping on Wednesday nights. She knows this because she's gone with us a couple of times. Guess who was waiting for us in the parking lot at 7PM? We didn't get out of the car after we saw her pacing around the entrance.

I'm documenting everything just in case she continues to get crazier. Fiance and I will be going to the local PD tomorrow to file a report and look into getting a temporary restraining order. Thank you to everyone that's offered me kind words, support, and even offers of baked goods. You guys are wonderful-- I really appreciate you.

Good luck, OP!!!

Sources: Reddit
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