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Marriage & Divorce.  Each state determines who is allowed to marry & how marriage can be dissolved  They must follow the laws & court decisions of their.

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Presentation on theme: "Marriage & Divorce.  Each state determines who is allowed to marry & how marriage can be dissolved  They must follow the laws & court decisions of their."— Presentation transcript:

1 Marriage & Divorce

2  Each state determines who is allowed to marry & how marriage can be dissolved  They must follow the laws & court decisions of their own state and those of other states

3  Same Sex Marriage  The Federal Government does not recognize marriage between same sex couples. States that do are:  Massachusetts (2003)  Connecticut (2008)  Iowa (April 2009)  Vermont (Sept. 2009)  New Hampshire (Jan. 2010)

4  The Law  The law recognizes that a civil contract comes into existence when you become engaged.  Once engaged there is an agreement that contains consideration which is the promise to give up the legal right to remain single.  This contract is executed when the wedding occurs

5  Rights & Duties  If one party fails to go through with the marriage after the engagement the other party may sue for damages (compensation) caused by the breach of the marriage contract

6  Rights & Duties  In a regular contract your rights and duties are created by agreement.  In a marriage contract your legal status is changed. The law gives both husband and wife new rights and duties.  This protects both parties.

7  Rights & Duties  Rights of a married couple include:  Support by spouse when necessary  Inheritance from deceased spouse  Property if marriage ends  File a joint tax return  If you live together with someone without being married you do not receive these rights

8  Rights & Duties  Employers also give certain rights to their employees’ spouses:  Health Insurance coverage  Retirement benefits

9  Duties of Spouses  The primary duty as a result of the marriage contract is the duty to be faithful to your spouse. It can not be avoided even by agreement.  All people married or not must refrain from causing bodily harm to those they live with.  Both parents (married or not) have the duty to support their children.

10  Premarital Agreements  People can enter into a written contract before they marry concerning their personal or real property. This is called a premarital agreement (prenuptual).  All assets must be fully disclosed to each other. NO secrets!

11  Prohibited Marriages  Marriages between certain relatives or marriage by one party to multiple people are not permitted by law in most states.  Marriages between relatives are denied 2 ways:  Consanguinity (blood)  Affinity (marriage)

12  Prohibited Marriages  Marriages between multiple partners is also against the law in all states. It is considered a crime. There are 2 terms related to this form of marriage:  Bigamy – is the act of having 2 spouses at the same time  Polygamy – having more than 2 spouses at the same time

13  Marriage Requirements  Each state has its own requirements regarding marriage. This may include  Age  Common Law Marriage  Ceremonial Marriage  Covenant Marriage  Marriage License  Waiting Period

14  Marriage Requirements  In all states except Mississippi & Nebraska you can marry at age 18 without your parent’s consent.  With parental consent you can be married at a younger age.  Marriage between teens are more likely to end in divorce.

15  Types of Marriage – Common Law  Only 11 states (plus D.C.) recognize Common Law marriage (no ceremony just agreement)  Requirements for Common-Law include:  Parties must agree in words (present tense) they are husband & wife  Must cohabitate for certain period of time  Divorce is required to end a common law marriage

16  Types of Marriage – Ceremonial  From earliest of times a ceremony could only be officiated by a cleric or a magistrate. This is still true today.  Requirements for Ceremonial Marriage include:  Ceremony needed to solemnize the marriage  Must cohabitate for certain period of time  Solemnize means to commemorate or celebrate

17  Marriage License  You must obtain a marriage license to be joined in a ceremonial marriage.  Marriage License – a certificate issued by a gov’t office giving permission to marry.  The marriage license can expire if you don’t marry during a specific period.  Many states have a waiting period before a license is issued to allow people to come forward that protest a marriage or allow the 2 parties to reconsider.

18  Proxy Marriage  One in which 1 or both parties can not be present for the wedding and an agent acts on their behalf.  The permission of the agent must be in writing by the person who can not attend.  Military  Jail  Hospitalized  Foreign dignitary

19  2 Ways to End a Marriage  Annulment declaration by court that marriage was not effective (void from beginning)  Marriages can generally be annulled due to duress and fraud (forced or deceived into the marriage).  Divorce – dissolution of marriage by court declaration that a marriage has end  1 st step is Legal Separation (when court ends rights to cohabitation). Also step when child custody is decided.

20  Grounds for Divorce  No fault divorce laws exist in almost every state and eliminates the need to prove which party is to blame.  Most grounds for divorce are based on:  Incompatibility  Irretrievable Breakdown  Irreconcilable Differences (biggest)

21  Grounds for Divorce  Divorce laws vary state to state. In most states you need only prove a marriage has broken down to get a divorce.  Breakdowns include:  Adultery -  having voluntary sexual relationship with someone other than your spouse. Must prove opportunity to do so and tendency.  Cruelty –  must prove personal violence endangers your health  Desertion –  unjustified separation of one spouse from another with intent of not returning  Addiction –  Prove habitual intoxication or abuse – Abuse of items not the use  Nonsupport –  Prove spouse had ability to provide economic support but failed to do so  Felony Conviction –  Grounds for disgrace

22  Residency Requirements for Divorce  Remember a word from early in the semester… Jurisdiction – ability to hear a case  In order for a court to hear a case it must have jurisdiction where the person seeking a divorce makes their home.  Domicile – Principle place of abode (living). You can only have one domicile (unless serving in Military)  Residence – the place where you actually live or reside. It may or may not be your domicile and you can have multiple residences.

23  Divorce Settlement  Alimony – an allowance for support and maintenance made to a divorced person by a former spouse.  It is NOT a penalty.  There is no fixed amount  If a spouse remarries, alimony does not need to end  Equitable Distribution Laws  Allows judges to distribute property evenly between spouses regardless of title to the property  Property can be distributed based on what the court sees as fair

24  Child Custody & Support  Many laws have been passed to protect children  There are 2 key ways the court handles custody  Sole Custody  Gives all parental rights, duties & powers to one parent  Visitation rights are given to other parent  Joint Custody  Divides the rights, duties & powers between both parents  Children live with each parent at different times  The goal of the court is to decide what is in the best interest of the child.  Child Support is a basic duty of every parent regardless of which parent has custody.


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