Not all families are legally recognized. These days, we see more long-term couples who never marry. These relationships can last decades, and the couples become just as intertwined as legal spouses.
Relationships often end on a sour note. When the couple is unmarried, hurt feelings and vengeful desires may cause a partner to “cut-and-run.” If, however, this person made long-term financial agreements with their partner, they can be held accountable for keeping these agreements.
If a breakup leaves you in a financial bind, you may be able to use a Marvin Action to seek restitution.
What Is a Marvin Claim?
In 1978, the California Supreme Court ruled in the case of Marvin v. Marvin. It concluded that unmarried partners can still hold one another accountable for contract claims. A Marvin claim extends to oral or “implied-in-fact” contracts between couples.
For instance, a long-term couple may have an understanding that one partner financially supports the other. Suddenly ending this relationship could leave the supported party destitute. When that happens, a Marvin claim may be the only option to stay financially afloat.
To be clear, a Marvin Action is a civil lawsuit. The person who files it is the plaintiff, and their former partner is the defendant. It is not the same as palimony. Palimony functions much more like spousal support. It is a completely separate process.
What Justifies a Marvin Claim?
A Marvin is, in essence, an accusation of fraud. It goes beyond a claim that you need further support. Instead, it directly accuses someone of breaking a contractual agreement. In this lawsuit, you must prove “negligent misrepresentation.” This claim states that your ex made direct promises that weren’t contingent upon the relationship.
For instance, say your partner bought you a car as a gift. It’s agreed that the car is yours to use, and they will make all the necessary payments. After your breakup, there is no conversation about the car, and your partner hasn’t asked that any other gifts be returned. One day, you find your car being towed, only to discover that your ex stopped making payments. A situation like this could qualify for a Marvin claim.
The same may be true if you are dependent on your partner’s finances and are suddenly cut off without warning.
Marvin claims may also be appropriate if your ex overtly interferes with your finances. Let’s say you still have a joint account that hasn’t been closed. If they start dipping into the funds excessively, leaving you with little to spare, this could be cause for a Marvin claim.
What if a Long-Term Partner Dies?
Hopefully, your long-term partner has done proper estate planning, including you in their will or trust. If not, you could be left empty-handed.
Without an estate plan, a person’s assets fall into intestate succession. Essentially, the state takes the property over, doling it out to the deceased’s closest relatives. This includes parents, children, siblings, and so on. It doesn’t matter if the deceased had any relationship with these people. The state considers them the rightful beneficiaries of the estate by blood.
Unsurprisingly, these beneficiaries can become quite protective of their newfound money and property. They may believe that you don’t deserve any inheritance, as you were never officially married to the deceased. In such scenarios, it may be necessary to file a Marvin claim against the estate itself. Essentially, you are claiming that the estate is in breach of contract, and it must fulfill the deceased’s prior obligations.
If you’ve been financially burdened by a breakup, you may qualify to file a lawsuit. Call our firm for a free consultation, and we can review your situation. Our number is (949) 565-4158. You can also use our online contact form.