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San Francisco Marvin Action Lawyers

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Palimony And Marvin Action

California “palimony” law protects parties who have made agreements that create mutual and financial dependency in a relationship.

While common law marriage is not recognized in California, unmarried parties who cohabitate and have a relationship over long a period of time may have rights to financial support and property. Unmarried parties can enforce promises of support or property rights through a civil court action rather than in family court.

These “cohabitation” actions are called often called Marvin claims, named after the case involving the late actor Lee Marvin. The actor was sued for financial support by his long-term girlfriend, Michelle Triola. Ms. Triola sought financial support as well as a distribution of the assets that she and Mr. Marvin had accumulated during their long-term relationship.

While the Supreme Court in Marvin expressly declined to treat unmarried cohabitants like married persons, the court stated that agreements (including oral contracts) between unmarried partners should be enforced like any contract between unmarried people.

A Marvin claim must be filed as a separate civil action because it is not a family law matter. The statute of limitations (the period within which a plaintiff must commence the action) for a Marvin claim will depend upon which legal theories are asserted. Applicable legal theories may include breach of express or implied contract, implied partnership or joint venture, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, constructive fraud, the imposition of constructive or resulting trust, and additional legal remedies.

When there is a breach of an agreement to share property and acquisitions equally, or to provide lifetime support, the injured party can seek redress through a Marvin claim.

Whether you need to commence or defend a Marvin claim, the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., provides compassionate, yet aggressive representation.

Defending A Marvin Claim

Marvin actions are subject to all of the defenses which are generally available in contract actions, plus a few which are specifically applicable to Marvin claims. These can include the expiration of the statute of limitations, meretricious consideration (if sexual acts form an inseparable part of the contract) and other aspects of the contract which may be contrary to public policy, defenses based on the state in which the contract was made, vagueness, lack of mutuality, or plaintiff’s breach of the agreement. In addition, there are equitable defenses which may apply, including the defense of “unclean hands,” and there is also a presumption in favor of the owner of legal title for real property.

Whether you are seeking to assert a Marvin claim or defending against a Marvin claim, it is important to have someone on your side to help guide you through the process. Working with our firm, you will have a team with an established record of handling Marvin actions.

Our Awards and Memberships

Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., recognizes that family law matters involve complex, sensitive issues that can have a lasting impact on you, your family, your finances and your future.

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10.0 Avvo Superb Top Attorney Family Law, Divorce
Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys 2017
2020 Most Trustworthy Companies of the Year
100 TOP WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES Women Who Lead
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF MATRIMONIAL LAWYERS (AAML)
2022 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies In the Bay Area San Francisco Business Times
2021 LGBTQ-OWNED BUSINESSES Business Pride
10 Best Female Attorneys 2017 American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
San Francisco Bay Area's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Winner 2021
2018 Best Lawyers Best Law Firms U.S. News & World Report
California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) State Bar of California
2020 Client Champion Debra R. Schoenberg
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards 2019
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Concord 2020
2018 Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in San Francisco
Fast 100
Lead Counsel Rated
Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) Fellow
National Board of Trial Advocacy
2017 Parents' Press Best of The Bay
San Francisco Business Times
Rated By Super Lawyers Debra R. Schoenberg
The Recorder Law Business Technology Best of 2021 Winner
The Business of Pride
2021 Best Businesses Three Best Rated
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards & Summit
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys of 2018
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