Living in Sin? Count me VOLUME 2:
Get In Where You Fit In: Does My Situation Qualify as a Marvin Action?
Life is complicated, particularly when you mix together family, romance,
and finances. Many clients come to us with complex situations, relative
to the accumulation of assets along with someone else, wanting to know
if they have a case or not. Most people do not know whether or not their
particular situation might give rise to a
“Marvin” action, or breach of an agreement, oral or implied by conduct, to share resources.
Here are some answers to common questions we receive. Hopefully they will
help you or someone you know to “get in where they fit in”.
Q: Do I have to have lived in the same house with the other party during
the entire relationship to have a Marvin Action?
A: No. Cohabitation is not a mandatory element of a Marvin Action. It is
usually part of the picture, and is a helpful fact to demonstrate to the
jury that the parties’ finances were truly intertwined. But if the
parties did not live together, or if they only lived together for part
of the time, there can still be a case.
Q: Can Marvin Actions stem from same-sex relationships?
Q: I pooled my resources with, and was made promises of future support
by a friend or family member, not a romantic partner. Is that a Marvin Action?
A: It can be. Marvin Actions typically take place as between romantic partners/couples.
But as long as there was an agreement to share assets, to “go in
together” on property, to support financially, and one party refused
to act on the agreement, a Marvin Action can be an appropriate remedy.
Q: I lived with my ex-girlfriend for a long time, but we kept our finances
completely separate. We did not purchase any real property, or any personal
property of any value. I never told her she would have any part of my
retirement account (which is the only asset I own, and only has about
$10,000.00 in it). When we broke up, my ex-girlfriend demanded that I
pay her a settlement, but I refused. Can she bring a Marvin Action to
try and take some of my money?
A: There is nothing you can do to stop your ex-girlfriend from filing a
lawsuit. However, she might not have much success. From the information
provided, it does not sound like there was an implied, oral or written
agreement to share assets or to work together to build a mutual estate.
Your ex-girlfriend might have trouble gathering enough evidence to convince
a jury of her claim (or to incentivize you to settle). Also, neither parties
accumulated much, in the way of assets. It would not make financial sense
for your ex-girlfriend to fight over just $10,000.00. Your ex-girlfriend
will spend far more litigating the case than she would stand to gain,
even if a jury found that the evidence was that you had somehow entered
into a pooling agreement.
Q: My long-time partner died without a will. He promised me that I would
inherit his estate. However, his children from his former relationship
are contesting this, and have filed a Probate action to try and ensure
that they receive the estate instead. Can I bring a Marvin Action against
my partner’s estate?
A: Yes you can. You would sue the Estate and any Executor/Administrator,
in their capacity as such, for the decedent’s breach of his agreement
to provide you with his estate. Your lawsuit would take place in Civil
Court, even though there is also a Probate action. Retaining a firm like
The Buncher Law Corporation, with close ties to exceptional Probate attorneys,
would be a wise choice, so your counsel can collaborate and as a team,
look out for your best interest.