Family Law 01


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  • Family Law 01

    1. 1. Intro to U.S. Law <ul><ul><li>Family Law and Related Topics </li></ul></ul>
    2. 2. Sources of Law <ul><li>Primarily State Law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Statutes set forth general elements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Court interpret and create precedent </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Federal Law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mostly concerns fundamental rights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Welfare benefits and child support enforcement </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Ceremonial Marriage <ul><li>Legal Capacity to Marry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal age – usually 16 to 18 years old </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mentally competent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Person must understand nature of act </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not already married </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Michigan Age Statute
    5. 5. Additional Considerations <ul><li>Valid formation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Voluntary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No fraud </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Blood relationship </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many prohibit Uncle/Niece and Aunt/Nephew </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some prohibit first cousins </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Incapacity Statutes
    7. 7. Marriage Procedure <ul><li>First must obtain license from state </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Must apply with the state </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>License usually issued by county clerk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many states have waiting period between application and issuance date. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Few states require blood tests </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Then marriage must be “solemnized” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be done by religious representative or civil official </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Common Law Marriage <ul><li>Recognized in about ¼ of states </li></ul><ul><li>Does not technically meet marriage requirement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No license, no solemnization, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Considered as implied agreement to be married. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When this becomes issue? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Death benefits, taxes, etc. </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Validity of Foreign Marriages <ul><li>Foreign – different state OR different country </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Between the States – Full Faith and Credit Clause </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Between State and Foreign Country </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Generally conflict of law, private law question </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>States generally do not have statutes directly on point </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Gay Marriage and the recognition of “foreign” marriages </li></ul>
    10. 10. Foreign Marriage Statute
    11. 11. Marital Property <ul><li>Under Common Law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“by marriage, the husband and wife are one person in the law; that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blackstone, Commentaries of the Laws of England (1765-1769) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Married Women Property Act <ul><li>Rules developed by equity courts in England started creating exceptions to common law. </li></ul><ul><li>By 1900, England and all states passed laws permitting woman to have and control separate property. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eventually these laws provided full rights and responsibilities to married women. </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Modern Approach <ul><li>Common Law Separate Property Approach Upon Divorce </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Followed in vast majority of states </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows for “separate” property to be kept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MWPA laws plus “equitable distribution” of property upon divorce. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Requires equal distribution of property upon divorce </li></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Community Approach <ul><li>Similar to laws in civil law system </li></ul><ul><li>Used in only a minority of states </li></ul><ul><li>All property acquired during marriage becomes marital property with spouses being joint owners. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Equitable distribution upon divorce </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Premarital Agreements <ul><li>Contract setting forth property rights upon marriage. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes called “prenuptial” or “antenuptial” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Traditional use = death. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modern use = divorce. </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. The Case of Anna Nicole Smith <ul><li>Anna Nicole Smith </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Age 26, former Playboy Playmate. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>J. Howard Marshall </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Age 89 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Billionaire oilman </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Marriage ends 14 months later upon his death. </li></ul>
    17. 17. Legal Responsibilities <ul><li>Both parents have a legal duty to financially support their children. </li></ul><ul><li>All Assets and Debts are joint property unless otherwise noted. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Property brought into a marriage – differs from state to state. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Surviving spouse is legally entitled to portion of state upon death of spouse. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Legal Rights <ul><li>Tax Benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Impacts particularly how business receipts are taxed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What about the marriage penalty? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Estate Planning Benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Automatic inheritance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Estate tax exemption </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Government Benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spouse entitled to receive benefits </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Legal Rights <ul><li>Employment Benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Insurance via spouse's employer, Leave (family, bereavement, Pension </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Medical Benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visitation, making medical decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Death Benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Autopsies, burial decisions </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Legal Rights <ul><li>Family Benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alimony, child support, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Housing Benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Renewal of lease signed by spouse, living in “family only” neighborhoods. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other legal protections </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Immigration, marital privilege, crime victim's recovery benefits, etc. </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Same-Sex Marriage & Rights <ul><li>States Allowing for Same-gender Marriage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MA, CT (Hawaii for a few years, CA for a few months) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>States Allowing for Domestic Partnerships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>VT, NJ, NH, (full rights) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ME, HI, DC, OR, WA (limited rights) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These marriages/unions will not be recognized by Federal government or other states. </li></ul>
    22. 22. Gay Marriage by State