LIVING TOGETHER by Marvin Mitchelson


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The inevitable book, from the attorney who represented Michele Triola Marvin in the now-famous ""palimony"" lawsuit against her non-husband (actor Lee). Mitchelson veers toward the pompous in referring to the case that made him famous--one chapter is titled ""What Hath Marvin Wrought?""--but he knows his family law and is careful not to overstate the significance of its holding. Pre-Marvin, an unmarried woman living with a man could share in his accumulated property only if the two had an express agreement to that effect. Marvin merely expanded prior case law to permit judicial inquiry into the existence of an implied contract based on the parties' past actions. As it happened, in Marvin itself the judges found neither; Michele (and Mitchelson) got peanuts. ""It is not easy to prove that express or implied [oral] contracts exist if there are disputes about them,"" says Mitchelson, and he should know. Putting it in writing is the key to avoiding legal pitfalls in living together, and much of this primer on achieving non-connubial bliss is devoted to anecdotal discussions of common living-together legal problems, with sample forms of agreements for resolving them short of a lawsuit--simple joint-living agreements, married/single partner agreements, nonmarital separation agreements, prenuptial agreements Oust in case you break down and tie the knot), and even agreements for what Mitchelson terms ""odd couples"" (gays). There's little discussion of the intent and effect of the provisions in the various forms, however, and Mitchelson scants some major topics--support and custody of children in living-together relationships, for example. If you're inclined to sit down and compose your own ""living together agreement,"" Clair and Daniele's Love Pact (p. 615) is a more helpful manual. All in all: thin.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Simon & Schuster