Broken Engagement – Shadchan Payment

Question

A couple met each other through a shadchan (matchmaker), became engaged, and paid the shadchan. Afterwards, they broke the engagement. Does the shadchan have to return the payment? Thanks.

7 months

Answers

  1. A shadchan is considered to have fulfilled his/her assignment when a couple get engaged. At that point the shadchan should be paid. Even if the engagement is subsequently broken, according to Jewish Law the Shadchan does not have to return the money they received for making the Shidduch. (The exception to the rule would be if the Shadchan withheld vital information before the couple got engaged. In this case, the shadchan must return the money.)

    Having said that, when asked by a shadchan what to do in such a case, I always recommend returning the money. My reasoning is that in most cases a broken engagement is difficult and traumatic enough as is, and the idea that the couple or their parents also have to absorb the shadchan cost will add anguish and anger to their already fragile state of mind. I am sure that if the shadchan is prepared to give up on the money so that the parents will have even a small measure of consolation God will repay the shadchan for their kindness.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team