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Family Law
University of Dayton School of Law
Laufer-Ukeles, Pamela

Marriage and the Traditional Conjugal Family

· Certain benefits given at marriage
· Cohabitation and births outside of marriage are more popular

3 views on cohabitation:
1) common law marriage—give status—civil union
2) leave it unregulated
3) allow to make contracts about their relationship

Cohabitation appears to be more prominent in families that have:
· Fewer economic resources
· Less education
· Lower incomes and higher poverty rates

Does cohabitation represent a stage in the marriage process or is it a substitute form of marriage? Won’t undermine if it’s a step toward marriage

Brachi v. Stahl Associates Co.-term family should not be rigidly restricted to those people who have formalized their relationship by obtaining a marriage certificate or adoption order. A family can include 2 adult life partners whose relationship is long term and characterized by an emotional and financial commitment and interdependence.

Court looks as factors such as:
· Exclusivity
· Longevity
· Reliance on one another
· Financial interdependence
· Public showing of lifestyle

Married couples have more freedom to order their relationship as they wish than do unmarried couples who desire some legal recognition.

Higher divorce rate for women without a college degree.

What is family?

Substance—emotional tie, interdependence, dependency

Form—societal determination

What does it mean to be married?

· Legitimatization
· Marriage is a societal issue—society’s opinion
· Cannot be legislated
· Right to privacy—people don’t need to analyze it if you are a family

Unmarried/Conjugal Legal Doctrines
1) common law marriage
2) putative spouse doctrine
3) last spouse presumption
4) cohabitant contracts
5) domestic partners

Common law marriage

port payments

§ 6.02 Domestic Partners
· 2 persons of same or opposite sex
· Not married
· Share residence and life as a couple
· (does not mention sexual relations)

· (no agreement is needed)

Common Law Marriage

3 requirements for common law marriage:
1) must be eligible to marry
2) must have an agreement (meeting of the minds)
3) Consummation
Additional factors:
4) cohabitation
5) reputation of being married

Other people can testify that you present yourselves as “married”

4 Ways to deal with bickering exes:
1) common law marriage
2) putative spouse doctrine
3) presumption of the 2nd marriage
4) cohabitation agreements

No particular time period a couple must be together