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.