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6 Jan. 2014

Navigating a Breakup: Why a "2 in 1" Attorney is Better When Unmarried Cohabitants Seek a "Marvin Action."

Posted By The Buncher Law Corporation

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A so-called Marvin Action is a lawsuit for alimony or a division of property accumulated while two parties lived together although never legally married.

About half of our Marvin Action cases start out in family law court, as a petition seeking divorce. The petitioner will either claim that the parties were in fact married, or that he or she had a good faith belief the parties lived as if they were married and thus should be treated as a spouse.

Ultimately, such an action will result in either a hearing or a trial to determine the validity of the marriage. If the judge determines that the parties weren't legally married nor lived together as if they were, the case will be dismissed.

However, the story does not end there. Prior to or after the dismissal of the divorce action in family court, the petitioner will often file a separate complaint in civil court alleging a breach of an implied or express agreement to provide support or share property accumulated during the parties' relationship. This a MarvinAction, so named for the groundbreaking 1970s palimony case between actor Lee Marvin and his longtime girlfriend.

A Marvin Action is a separate lawsuit from the divorce action. A completely different set of laws and court procedures apply. Unlike a divorce case, a Marvin Action is usually decided by 12 jurors, not by a single judge.

Usually, this requires the hefty expense of retaining two attorneys — a family law attorney and a civil attorney. This is inefficient, as the two attorneys will need to become familiar with the same facts, review much of the same paperwork and coordinate strategy and activities.

Retaining a single attorney trained in both family law and civil actions can significantly lower costs and offer strategic advantages. At The Buncher Law Corporation, our attorneys are equally comfortable in both family law and civil courts.

Even if a divorce action in a family law court is dismissed, the case may not be over if the unmarried parties had children together. In these instances, the family law case will continue to determine issues of child support and custody, while the Marvin Action continues in civil court. Again, in such instances, there are cost and strategy benefits to having a single attorney who is adept at both family and civil law.

For a free consultation on a divorce action, paternity action, child support, child custody, spousal support or a Marvin Action, contact us at The Buncher Law Corporation.

Categories: Marvin Action
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