Chapter 25/26 Marriage and Divorce Contracts

I. The Marriage Contracta civil contract is created when a man and a woman become engaged

  • Marriage– personal relationship between a man and a women, arising out of a civil contract
    • legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife
    • minimum age of 18 without parental consent
    • basis of the family unit and is vital to preservation of values and culture
  • Executory Stage (“Engagement Ring”)-contract is executed when wedding takes place; under common law, if one party broke the engagement, the other could sue for damages
  1. Rights and Duties of Marriage Contracts
    • legal rights and duties arise when married
    • if people are not married, but live together, they dont have the rights
    • Rights– to support, inherite from dead spouse, to property if the marriage ends, to compensation to continue a standard of living if marriage ends, to file a joint income tax return
  2. Written Marriage Agreements
    • Premarital Agreements (antenuptial or prenuptial)– agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marrige, to be effective upon marriage
      • What can you contract for ina premartial agreement?
  3. Marriage Formalities
    • Age Requirements (pg 369)- 18 without your parents consent
    • Common-Law Marriage– ended with a divorce
    • Ceremonial Marriage– can only be performed by a member of clergy or magistrate; many states require some kind of ceremony to solemnize marriage
    • Marriage Liscense– certificate issued by a government office that gives permission to two people to marry; becomes effective after the waiting period required by the state law; will expire if marriage does not occur within a certain time
    • Waiting Period– a notice of upcoming marriage has to be showed off with wedding banns
    • Blood Test/Physical Examination– a blood test for HIV, rubella, tuberculosis or other diseases may be required to issue a marriage liscence
    • Proxy Marriage-one or both parties can not be present and an agent acts on their belief; these require a ceremony
    • Use of Maiden Name– people may use any name as long as it is not used to commit fraud
  4. Prohibited Marriages
    • Consanguinity– related by blood
    • Afinity– related by marriage
    • Bigamy– act of having 2 spouses at once
    • Polygamy-having more tahn 2 spouses at the same time

II. Ending a Marriage/Divorce

  1. Ways a marriage can come to an end
    • Death
    • Annulment– declaration by the court that the marriage was never effective; the marriage never happened; marriages can be annuled on the basis of duress and fraud
    • Divorce– dissolution fo a marriage; declaration that a valid marriage has come to an end; court makes declaration
  2. Grounds for Divorce(pg 381)
    • No-Fault– divorce can be filed if they do not love each other anymore
    • Adultery– having a voluntary sexual relationship with someone other than your spouse
    • Cruelty– must prove their was personal violence(emotional/physical)  that endagers your health and makes living together unsafe or unbearable; most common
    • Desertion– the unjustified seperation  of one spouse from the other with no intent of returning
    • Alcoholism or Drug Addiction– habitual intoxication is grounds for divorce in many states; must be confirmed, persistent, voluntary and excessive
    • Nonsupport– the spouse had the ability to provide economic support but willfully failed to do so
    • Conviction of Felony– a divorce may be allowed if either party is convicted of a felony, an infamous(disgraceful) crime, or a crime of moral
  3. Domicile and Residence Requirements
    • Residence Requirements– place where party actually lives or resides; may or may not be domicile
    • Domicile– principal place of adobe
  4. Alimony/Palimony
    • Alimony– an allowance for support and maintenance made to a divroced person by a former spouse; not intended as a penalty
  5. Martial Property- most states have laws that intend to assure equitable distribution of the property that is involved in the marriage
    • Community Property Jurisdiction
    • Equitable Distribution Laws- allow judges to distribute property fairly, or equitably, between spouses, regardless who has title
  6. Custody and Support of Children
    • sole custody- one parent
    • joint custody- divided rights and powers between parents

How is child custody typically decided?

    • Welfare of the Child
    • Uniform Support Laws

III. Visitation Guidelines for Seperated Parents


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