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Family Law
South Texas College of Law Houston
Carlson, Richard R.

I.        REGULATION OF MARRIAGE
a.       Introduction
                                                         i.            Types of Couples
1.       Traditionalists: only one spouse works; marriage is ideal b/c it protects the non-income earner
2.       Yuppies: both spouses work
3.       Partners: not married
                                                             ii.      3 Major Reasons People Marry
1.       Love
a.       Personal expression of commitment
b.       Legal commitment
                                                                                                                                       i.            Protection of reliance interest
                                                                                                                                     ii.            Like a contract
                                                                                                                                    iii.            Helpful for LT planning
c.       Lawful intercourse
2.       Procreation
a.       Presumed Father Rule: if man is married to the mother he is presumed to be the father of the child
b.       Support for child
c.       Protection for child bearer
d.       Protection for non-caretaker i.e. visitation rights
3.       Economic Advantages
a.       Building and sharing wealth
                                                                                                                                       i.            Economies of scale-“one roof principle”
1.       Save cost of paying rent, expenses
2.       Don’t really have to be married
                                                                                                                                     ii.            Avoidance of bookkeeping
1.       Court divides by just and right division
2.       No bookkeeping necessary if married
b.       Division of Labor
                                                                                                                                       i.            Very efficient if people have specialized tasks (income producer vs. household management)
                                                                                                                                     ii.            Protects non-economic contributions
c.       Mutual Support and Welfare
                                                                                                                                       i.            “Insurable interests”
1.       Public Benefits-must be married
a.       Social security: surviving spouse benefit is only given to married persons
b.       FMLA: must be married for work leave rules
2.       Private Benefits-depends on ER discretion
a.       ER’s may elect to allow non-married persons to participate in plan
                                                                                                                                     ii.            Mutual duty of support
                                                                                                                                    iii.            Security for child’s primary caretaker
                                                            iii.      Rewards for marriage
1.       Property interests
2.       Rights of inheritance
3.       Homestead
4.       Standing to sue (wrongful death, loss of consortium)
5.       Public welfare benefits
6.       Immigration
7.       Adoption
8.       FMLA Leave
9.       Income tax benefits
10.   Gift tax benefits
11.   Standing for guardianship
12.   Presumed paternity
b.      State regulation of Marriage-Constitutional Limits
                                                               i.      Introduction
1.       Why do lawmakers care?
a.       Public care (disease, birth control)
b.       Morality
c.       Strength and integrity of family unit
d.       Cultural norms about the essence of marriage
e.       Protection of minors & incompetents (must be at least 14 years old must be sane)
2.       Texas
a.       TFC 1.101: Presumption of validity (“Pro-Marriage”)
                                                                                                                                       i.            Marriage is presumed valid unless expressly made voidable by ch. 6
                                                                                                                                     ii.            Technicalities that are violated do not make the marriage invalid unless the family code expressly says so
3.       Constitutional Protections
a.       1st Amendment: right to practice religion
b.       Penumbra Rights: right of privacy not expressly written into constitution but implied by 1st, 4th, 5th amendments
c.       5th Amendment: state cannot deny liberty interests w/o due process
d.       Equal Protection: state cannot discriminate
4.      Constitutional Analysis Test
a.       Step 1: Identify liberty interest or constitutional right at stake
                                                                                                                                       i.            How important is the liberty interest?
                                                                                                                                     ii.            Rational, Heightened, Strict Scrutiny
b.       Step 2: Can state show legitimate interest in regulation
                                                                                                                                       i.            Depending on constitutional right may need more compelling interest
c.       Step 3: How severe is impact on individuals rights
d.       Step 4: Does law achieve its purpose effectively w/o undue impact
5.       Zablocki v. Redtail
a.       FACTS: Wisconsin statute required before re- marriage that if behind in child support that parent must prove that can take care of children in future
b.       Holding: unconstitutional b/c the statute was overly broad and was not an effective way of accomplishing collection of child support
                                                                          

                                                                                              ii.            Carlson says: no, but probably a retreat to this for argument
c.       Marriage is for Procreation
                                                                                                                                       i.            Some couples can’t or don’t want to procreate
                                                                                                                                     ii.            Carlson says: then denying marriage to only same sex couples is under-inclusive
d.       Public Health
                                                                                                                                       i.            Same sex relationships spread disease
                                                                                                                                     ii.            Carlson says: No, marriage would promote marriage for monogamous relationship
e.       Cost to public and private welfare systems
                                                                                                                                       i.            Cost of social security would increase and private business costs would go up as well
                                                                                                                                     ii.            Carlson says: not a very good argument b/c same basis for past discrimination for black and women in workplace
f.        Unspoken motivations for the ban
4.       Current status of same sex marriage
a.       Hawaii: popular referendum overrules supreme court of HA; constitutional amendment no same sex marriage
b.       Vermont: created a special piece of legislation for same sex unions but no same sex marriages
c.       Massachusetts: full fledged same sex marriages allowed
5.       Do MA and VT matter outside of these states?
a.       Federal Issues
                                                                                                                                       i.            Defense of Marriage Act: for purposes of federal law (taxes, immigration, social security, ERISA) no same sex marriages
1.       Congress says “Full Faith and Credit Clause does not apply to same sex marriage”
2.       Congress is offering its interpretation of the constitution- this is the role of the US Supreme Court