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Family Law
St. Johns University School of Law
Scheinkman, Alan D.

I. Getting Married. 2
A. Promise to Marry. 2
B. Getting Back Chattel from broken engagement3
II. Rules of Marriage. 3
A. history. 3
B. licensure & ceremony. 4
III. void, voidable. 5
A. Void. 5
B. Voidable. 6
IV. Prenups (antenups)9
V. Names. 12
A. names & children. 12
VI. Dissolution of Marriage. 12
A. jurisdiction. 12
VII. Divisible Divorce. 15
VIII. Divorce grounds. 19
A. Adultery. 19
IX. Principles of Property Distribution. 25
B. what is separate property?. 37
X. rules of dividing property. 39
A. what judge considers. 39
XI. maintenance. 41
A. factors. 42
B. time for maintenance. 42
C. living with someone else. 43
D. modifying support43
E. Separation agreements & merger43
F. maintenance where marriage is not terminated. 43
G. temporary support44
H. Alimony payments cannot be attached by a creditor44
XII. Child Support44
A. family support act44
B. Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act44
C. child support add-ons. 47
D. special issues in child support48
E. when does child support terminate. 48
F. agreement btwn parties. 49
G. modifying child support49
o How to avoid having to resort to the Boden Brescia Doctrine. 50
XIII. child custody. 50
A. jurisdiction for child custody. 50
B. what goes into child custody determination. 52
C. What are the factors courts look into for best interests of the child?. 54
XIV. adoption. 56
A. agency. 56
B. private adoption. 57
C. who can adopt57
D. who has to consent?. 57
E. notifying dad of pregnancy. 58
o Surrogate Moms. 58
XV. child abuse and such. 59
A. child abuse. 59

I. Getting Married
A. Promise to Marry
· Marriage has its genesis in K law, Offer & acceptance
· ancient common law actually viewed it as a real K with financial consequences for breach
· considered more from the pt of view of the female
· consider public policy-should we discourage engagement breaks?
(1) Wightman (1818)
· If man breached promise to marry, W suffers from social stigma. thus W should be compensated for the breach, & damages should include loss of social status
(2) standard (1977)
· a little more modern-here the court said that where a promise to marry is broken, there may be reliance damages.
· such damages should include $$ spent on wedding expenses, rings, etc., and mental angu

oken engagement
· NY- chattel can be recovered where sole consideration for it was promise to marry. Marriage is the condition subsequent that never occurred.
· so, gotta give back that e-ring in NY
· Presumption is that gifts exchanged btwn people about to be married are gifts given in contemplation of marriage. Presumption is so strong that it can be overturn only with clear & convincing evidence.
· this also applies to gifts given by 3rd parties. if you give a gift to engaged couple for their impending marriage, you can get it back if they break off engagement.
(1) Illegality
· Lowe v. Quinn-married man proposes to someone else. then he breaks of the engagement and asks for ring back. she refuses. he sues, citing NY law. Ct of Appeals rejects his claim. they said the K was illegal bc he was still married, so leave the parties as we find them
(2) consideration means motive/reason, not legal consideration
· gaden v. gaden