12Goals Discuss how the law affects premarital and marital relationships Explain the uses of prenuptial agreementsName the rights and duties of husbands and wives
13DEBATEBen, 16, has been dating Betsy for several months when he told his parents about the relationship. Ben’s father has been in business with Betsy’s dad and the partnership ended poorly. When his father heard the news, he told Ben to stop seeing Betsy. Ben refused, and his father grounded him. When Ben continued to see Betsy, his father took away the car Ben bought with his own money, stopped paying Ben’s tuition, cut off his allowance, and spent the funds saved for Ben’s college. He even threatened to spank Ben. Ultimately, with his mother’s backing, Ben brought suit against his father for “improper parenting.” Ben’s father’s attorney quickly filed a motion to dismiss the suit. The motion stated that “improper parenting” was not a legitimate cause of action and that the father had acted within his powers as a parent under the law. The lower court dismissed the suit, and Ben appealed to the state court of appeals.
14DEBATEMake a persuasive argument that emphasized the legal reasons supporting Ben’s suitChildren are maturing faster (more rights and responsibilities) in today’s societyParents should not be able to create an environment and prospective future for their offspring and then, without good cause, destroy their child’s present and futureMake a persuasive argument that emphasized the legal reasons supporting his father’s actionsThe father acted within his current rights as a parent under our laws even to the point of threatening (or carrying out some minor form of corporeal punishment)Everything the child earns is basically the parents’ until the child is emancipated or enters his or her majorityHe did what our society expects of him and empowers him to do
15What’s Your Verdict?Jim and Mary are both 16 years old. While dating they have intimate relations, and Mary becomes pregnant.Will the law compel them to marry?Do you think Jim and Mary should get married?What obligation, if any, does Jim have toward Mary?
16Premarital Relationships MarriageA legal union of a man and woman as husband and wifeCohabitateA man and woman who live together outside of marriageIllegal in most states until the late 1970’sStill illegal in some states – seldom enforcedLaws state a minimum age for marriage without parental permission (typically 18)No law specifies a minimum age for dating
17Premarital Relationships No law restricts the choice of marital partners (one exception)Close relatives may not marryMinor child can be told not to date or not to see a specific personCan only be enforced with “reasonable force”Parental use of excessive force may result in charges of child abuse
19Premarital Relationships If pregnancy results and the responsible male can be identified, he will be required to pay the female’s medical bills and to contribute to the child’s support until the child is 18True even if the father is a minorNo law exists to force the parents of an illegitimate child to marry
20What’s Your Verdict?Grady and Cheryl are engaged to be married. Grady’s parents strongly disapprove of the up-coming marriage. They finally convince Grady to break the engagement.Can Cheryl bring a successful lawsuit against Grady’s parents for interfering with her contract to marry Grady?If you were Cheryl, would you still want to marry Grady?
21The Marital ContractIf one party in a heterosexual relationship proposes marriage and the other accepts, a binding contract resultsIf later both mutually agree to end their engagement, the contract is annulledThe law considers their agreement void and to never have existedSuits were notorious because juries set high figures to compensate the jilted party (usually the woman)Actual damages, humiliation, and hurt feelingsMost states have banned breach-of-promise suitsOther states have placed a cap on the amount of damages
22The Marital ContractWhat if a third party interferes with the engagement?Few states allow damage suits against intrudersParents can try to prevent their son or daughter from marrying (cannot bring suit)Gifts create legal problemsRing (given in expectation of marriage) is usually ordered to be returnedThe woman may get to keep in the man called off the engagementGifts other than those given in expectation of marriage can be kept by the recipient
23What’s Your Verdict?Zed lived with Tamra for about two years. Although they never applied for a marriage license, they told everyone that they were married. Recently, they split up, and now Tamra is about to marry another man. However, Zed claims that she cannot enter another marriage because she is his common-law wife.Is he correct?
24How Do You Get Married? State Marriage Requirements Each state has its own requirementsBegin process by appearing before the cityMust apply for and pay a fee for a marriage licenseWith parental consent, most states allow minors to marrySome states require a blood test before the license is issuedOnce licensed is issued, any authorized religious of civil officials can perform the ceremonyCourt clerks, mayors, judges, rabbis, ministers, priests, sea captainsAn attempt has been made to standardize state laws for marriage and divorce (The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act)Adopted by 8 states (Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado, Montana, Arizona, and Washington)
25How Do You Get Married? Common-Law Marriage Occur when a single woman and a single man lived together, share common property, and hold themselves out as husband and wife over a prolonged period of time (usually 10 years or longer)Roots are in the American FrontierAbsence of suitable authorities, many pioneers could not follow the legal methods for marriageAbout ¼ of our states allow common law marriages (MT, ID, UT, CO, KS, OK, TX, IA, PA, RI, DC, SC, GA, AL)All states must recognize common law if such a union is legal in the state in which it occurred
26What’s Your Verdict?Your friend Bill’s mother died three years ago. Now his father plans to remarry. Bill is concerned that his father’s fiancée will have a claim against the family home and other property.Is there anything Bill can do to prevent such a claim?
27Duties and Rights of Wives and Husbands The laws sees marriage as a contract for life and for the benefit of each otherThe practical and legally recognized purposes for marriage:ProcreationRaising childrenSexual needsEconomic needsCompanionship needs
28Duties and Rights of Wives and Husbands Marital ConsortiumMutual obligations of wife and husband undertaken to fulfill the purposes of their unionIf either spouse suffers an injury that prevents fulfillment of these marital duties, the other can sue the party who caused the harm for damages for “loss of consortium”The most important duty of both spouses is to provide for the support, nurture, welfare, and education of their children
29Duties and Rights of Wives and Husbands Parental Rights and DutiesObligated by state law to support their children until they reach adulthoodException – if a minor child takes legal measures to become “emancipated”Both parents in a married couple have custody rights to their childrenEqual voice in decisionsAdoptionLegal process that creates a parent-child relationshipSame rights as they would to a child born of their unionGoverned by state law and must be approved by the courts
30Duties and Rights of Wives and Husbands Property Rights and DutiesProperty acquired during the marriage may be kept in the name of the husband, wife, or bothPrenuptial AgreementLegal contract resolving property and other claims that might result from marriageAt times, spouses bring property into the marriage and want to keep it in their own namesThe partner-to-be gives up any future claimUseful when entering into a second or subsequent marriage