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:
Marriage & Divorce
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
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)
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
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
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.
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
Rights & Duties Employers also give certain rights to their employees’ spouses: Health Insurance coverage Retirement benefits
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.
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!
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)
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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)
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
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.
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
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.